Category Archives: Student Opinion

STUDENT OPINION

Have You Ever Written Fan Mail? If Not, Would You?

As I was scrolling though the student opinions, this one caught my eye and as I was reading, I definitely knew where the author was coming from.

Have you ever written fan mail — whether an email, a letter or a direct message — to an artist whose work you loved? Why did you want to tell the person what the work meant to you?

I have always wanted to write fan mail, whether that be commenting on a YouTube video or sending a P.O package. However, the one time I ever wrote fan mail was about 7-8 years ago, when I was about 11 and I was introduced to the world of fanfiction. I had stumbled across a certain story and became deeply captured by it. After reading the whole day, I finished the story only to be taught what the word angst was. It was so impactful that I hurriedly made an account with my mom’s email, and commented on the piece. I was so nervous and I kept rereading it to make sure it didn’t look like it came from an 11-year-old. The next day, I got a response back and although it wasn’t the answer I was hoping (I wrote about the possibility of a character coming back to life after a fatal gun shot, I know, I was asking for a lot), the author was so kind about it, I’ve never regretted commenting on her piece.

If you’ve never written fan mail, what do you think has held you back from doing so? Has Dr. Bedard’s essay persuaded you to reach out more often to the artists and creators whose work you consume — even knowing you might not get a response back? Why or why not?

It’s definitely scary to reach out, especially towards big creators. Despite not me being active in writing fan mails, I do my best in supporting the author the best way I know, such as liking a piece, sharing it, or giving it 5 stars. But seeing that someone else has felt the same way as I do and has sent fan mail despite knowing they won’t get a response, I feel more motivated to do my part, because I really have been moved by some works and it’s still a nice feeling to say it out loud than keeping it to yourself.

Dr. Bedard says that writing fan mail is a cathartic way for her to build intimacy and connection, and “an opportunity to take pleasure” in her passions. What does writing fan mail do for you? Or, if you’ve never written it, what do you imagine it might do for you?

It’s so nerve wracking! I don’t think there’s a possible way to explain it. It’s like hoping, praying, and just wishing that this person, who you suddenly consider to be the greatest person alive, that they are this genius, to notice you. But also not notice you because you don’t feel like you deserve it. And you want to relay your emotions but you don’t want to seem super obsessed or like a creep because fan mail does have its bad rep. But you don’t want to restrict yourself in fear of them not fully understanding how they have impacted you.

What is a book, movie, show, poem, photograph, podcast, song or other piece of art that has had an effect on you? If you were to write fan mail to the creator of that work, what would you say?

I always tell myself to remember the pieces that inspire me for this exact moment but then I just blank out. But recently I’ve come across this author who writes their own version of a tv show called Merlin. And the way they just write is simple utterly and beautifully perfect, and their upload schedule is amazing! Because of their work, I’ve appreciated more life in a sense (I know, it’s crazy). But it does just make me happy thinking of it and it’s something good to pass the time. I haven’t written them a fan mail yet, but I am planning to write on one of their next chapters about how simply wonderful they are for creating those pieces. I could write more here but still kind of want to save face here!

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What Songs Describe You? (Spring Break Assignment)

When it comes to finding a song that truly describes who we are, it can be a difficult task. After all, how can we sum up our complex personalities, life experiences, and current problems in just a few minutes of music? However, those who resonate with the song “Indifferent” by Stemo, they may have found the perfect anthem to describe themselves. 

At its core, “Indifferent” is a song about feeling disconnected from the world around us. It speaks to those who have experienced the pain of feeling like they don’t quite fit in or belong. The lyrics are raw and honest, with lines like “I’m indifferent, I’m not like them / I’m a misfit, I don’t pretend” that perfectly capture the feeling of being on the outside looking in. But what sets “Indifferent” apart from other songs about feeling disconnected is the sense of empowerment that comes with it. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, the song encourages listeners to embrace their uniqueness and stand proud in who they are. As the chorus declares, “I won’t change for anyone / I’ll stay true to who I am / I won’t bow down, I won’t give in / I’ll stand tall and I’ll win.” 

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Should the United States Ban TikTok?

“What is your reaction to a potential ban of TikTok in the United States? Are lawmakers’ concerns about the app warranted, in your opinion? How do you think a ban might affect you?”

My reaction was to think to myself that it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever, if anything it’ll serve as good to the community deeming how much social media already impacts the lives of those that use it. I think lawmakers are warranted about their concerns, they’re just doing their jobs and ensuring the safety, data, and privacy of the users of TikTok. I think a ban might affect me in a good way for sure because I feel I waste too much time on it already. There are times that I would open up the app when I’m supposed to actually be working and being productive and hours would fly by while I’m on it and then I just end up not being as productive as I would hope.

“What concerns, if any, do you have about TikTok? Why do these things worry you?”

Well i think a privacy concern is always going to be present, with many apps i feel the same, that my privacy isn’t always really prioritized by the company as much as they say. Another concern is how much adult content is being literally broadcasted to kids under 18 without the guidelines doing anything of it until drastic measures are taken and many people have to report or something drastic just for them to do their job and keep their guidelines true. This concerns me because TikTok was meant to be a kids app, an app to watch funny videos or dance to songs, sort of like a more modern Musically, but its gotten to a point where there’s so much nonsense all over the app now that it makes you wonder if these kids are being swayed to do things they shouldn’t, or if they’re seeing things they shouldn’t be.

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Bridgeview Diner

One of my favorite local hangout spots is a diner in Brooklyn called Bridgeview. This place is the definition of “feels like home”. I discovered this gem when I was around 14 years old. I was a theatre kid and after our final performance we had this tradition of going to dinner as a cast. The original diner we had always gone to closed and we found this one. That is my first memory in that diner. I am now almost 19 and have become a regular as I’ve grown. My best friend and I go there quite often, it’s our comfort place. We can sit and talk and talk and talk for hours at those booths as I order my chocolate chip pancakes and she, a cheeseburger as well as the occasional waffle fries we share. Bridgeview was the first place our other friend Danny hung out with us for the first time, and although he is away at college now, we still go with him anytime he’s home. My mom, dad, brother and I have all gone there for breakfast a couple times, had dinner with my aunt there and I have even gone on a date at the diner. It’s a staple to my teenage years, sitting amongst the same, but much older people each time I go. The dinner is only fully packed on Saturday mornings, there you will find families out to breakfast. However, the other 6 days out of the week are filled with seniors sipping their coffee and reading the newspapers they have out front.

What is your reaction to the article? What aspects of the dining experience at Sarapes are most appealing to you? Which images or quotes stood out most? Would you ever want to dine at Sarapes?

Just reading this article made me want to take the drive and eat at Sarapes. The pictures made it feel so homey and welcoming. The inside seems to look like an at home kitchen which adds to it, along with the genuine smiles. My favorite picture is the one where a man and women are dancing in what seems to be the middle of the restaurant as well as singing karaoke.

Adrian Martinez Chavez, the photographer whose grandparents started the restaurant, said, “Knowing that my family has provided food for the community for so long and people depend on it and love it, it is so special to me.” How do local restaurants, or food in general, bring your community together?

Local restaurants can be a staple to both big and small towns/cities. There are usually regulars who go often and get to know each other as well as the staff. These places assist residents in forming connections.

If you were asked by The Times to write an article about your favorite local hangout, what would be your headline? What photographs would you include? Whom would you interview?

If The Times asked me to write an article about Bridgeview Diner, the headline would be “A Bay Ridge Gem”, I would include pictures of the old couples sitting in their booths, the hostess who is always there to greet you, the bar stools by the cornbread and the families who go there for birthdays. I would interview the regulars who always sit at the same booths, the girl working the register to pay your bill, the hostess, and the families that go there.

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How Much Do You Think It Matters Where You Go to College?

Scrolling through the articles I was looking for something I can personally connect to. A topic I can go in depth and give an opinion on. I know talking about college applications are a topic everyone goes for, but you don’t know how much it matters until the time comes. The so called “college experience” seems to take over a student’s mind and they only search for the highest ranked or prestigious colleges hoping to fulfill their dreams. I always firmly believed a student should reflect deeply on what sort of experience they truly want, factor in what is financially realistic for them and consider those colleges first rather than simply assemble a wish list of colleges based on their rankings alone. Going to a college far away from home or abroad is a major change and often really expensive without a scholarship, but even so the search for the perfect college experience doesn’t end there.

Do you agree with Mr. Bruni that, for many Americans, the process of applying to colleges has “devolved into a scholastic version of ‘The Hunger Games’”? Have you seen that at your school?

This classification can be very relatable as the drive for a chance at a successful career and nothing else can change someone. At my high school our guidance counselors really pushed us to apply almost forcing it upon us at times. As well as applying for schools that seemed fit for us which often felt reflected off of our grades. I believed in searching for a college that was within my financial range and relatively close by. In the end we as students shouldn’t be defined by our college status and don’t get so caught up in the “experience”. We should sit and reflect on how our choice will affect us in the long run.

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What songs describe you ?

So while scrolling through articles to pick from I have decided to chose the one simply titled “What songs Explain You” by Jeremy Engle. It was not super difficult to choose around two to three songs simply because of my mindset. Now the first one that came to my mind was “After Dark ” by Mr. Kitty yes that is the chosen name of the artist however the song itself is really good. Its about someone meeting another person somewhere and they get really close to each other. The song is really nice and calming to a degree. It is nice to have in the background because it makes you feel good even if you have harsh memories. This song has allowed me to really get over my failures and past issues because I think of it as a calming sensation to me and I listen to it heavily when I work out.

Another song I have that I feel describes me is “Not Over Yet” By Rapper KSI. I chose this one because it is about growth and improvement and one of the lyrics is ” I tell myself its not over yet”. Personally I relate to it because I know that growing as a person it requires the mentality to keep going. It is not easy because it feels like you’re not worth it. Growth does require a lot of work whether it be training physically or mentally.

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Where Do You Find Peace and Quiet?

In my own opinion, the place where I find my Peace and quiet itself must be quiet and peaceful. Whenever I felt nervous or tired of work, I would always go down to the Belt Parkway, walk all the way down slowly, and listen to the sound of waves. Can’t express how much I love to close my eyes feeling the wind blow on my face.


Other than walking down Belt Parkway, going to the nearest park and sitting on a bench under the shade was also my way of finding peace and quiet. I often get myself something to drink and walk to the nearest park. Personally, the best place is somewhere away from the crowd so that I can completely quit myself down and relax.

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Do school employees deserve more respect and pay?

I think school employees deserve more respect and pay. Looking back at my last year in high school and college, I realize how different it is. Many students don’t follow the rules and are usually rude to staff there, it is because of this that I think they deserve a higher pay. I went to one of the biggest schools around here and that meant there were many fights and the security guards usually said the pay wasn’t worth all the trouble. Additionally, it is shown that students learn more when teachers have a higher paid. I remember one of my teachers once told me she usually gets 4-5 hours of sleep because of all the assignments she had to grade and exams make. In my opinion, their hard work and stress should be recognized because without them students wouldn’t be able to learn.

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Jason Hernandez. NY Times Article Student Opinion Response

What is your favorite Spring Memory? What do you feel, taste, hear, and see? 

Whenever spring is here, I suddenly remember those times during my middle school years. I can feel the nice breeze pass by me as I walked towards the area. I can hear those birds chirping everywhere I go. Every Friday, I would go to the park with my friends after school. I feel the warm sun light as I would run around playing with my friends. Whenever I feel the spring weather, I automatically think about those days.

What is special about this memory? 

I wasn’t busy as I am now. Nor were my friends. All we simply did was play at the park or simply just talk with eachother as we laid down on the grass. I can feel my younger self whenever I feel that Spring weather. All those fun moments are suddenly flashed upon me. I miss those days a lot. And I am glad to still be friends with them till this day. We may not see eachother constantly as we once used to, but we get to enjoy our time together every chance we get to see each other.

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What Is Something You Want to Try, Even Though Others Might Think It’s Weird?

Since I was in middle school, I had always wanted to try skydiving. I think skydiving would be a special experience to have and it would be fun. But when I tell people that I want to do skydiving, everyone would be like it is too dangerous. Not many people agreed with me. They didn’t want to do this so-called “dangerous activity”. Maybe I am a person that seeks for thrill, but many people around me are more into calm activities. To be honest, I like calm activities too. But, I like to experience different things in my lifetime. 

If I can, I really want to go skydiving with my friends. It would be a memorable moment that I might not forget for the rest of my life. Going alone is kind of lonely and scary. But with friends, I would be more brave and would have more fun when I am with similar people. People just need to be crazy sometimes in life. Life is long, seeing from my age right now, but it is also short. So, I want to do things before the time is up. Life is limited, so why not try new things and enjoy it.

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