So this is it. After writing for nearly every issue this year, this is my last article in The Spectator. Ever.
It took a while to get into the groove of writing as a columnist. Unlike those who came before me, I didn’t start out with a very pointed, carefully honed writing style. In fact, it seems almost ridiculous that I wrote a formally presented proposal to authorize school nurses to administer aspirin in one issue, a sloppily put together piece on class participation in the next and a sarcastic call for affirmative action for Asians in Stuyvesant theater in the issue after that.
Of course, a lot of this had to do with the fundamental process of finding a topic or a new angle to a story that would appeal to readers. Many like to complain about the woes of their college application process, but it seems unlikely that such a complaint can be done in a completely original manner without sounding whiny. Anyone can write an article criticizing the quality of school food, but what are the chances that other students will feel very strongly about it, especially when our school offers off-campus lunch?
I don’t think it would be terribly unreasonable to say that many of the Opinions pieces that come out in The Spectator, including mine and especially staff editorials, are open or thinly veiled complaints about issues that affect our school. Certainly, these articles must come to some sort of conclusion, but they don’t always discuss what should be done. Sometimes, the point of the article is that there isn’t anything that can be done. And so I often find myself writing about a topic not because I feel that something must be done about it, but because I find it an important issue to address. Although the Opinions section acts as a forum for personal thoughts, what is more substantial is that those opinions cause other students, teachers, administrators and even parents to respond, either mentally or by taking action.
As Opinions writers, we complain for various reasons, such as not being informed of policies beforehand, the limitations on student rights and the seeming illogicality of some policies. But as much as we would hate to admit it, many of the administrative policies have their foundations in what is inherently “good” for us, whether it be safety or making sure that we are in class. We oppose security cameras and ID scanners not because they really do so much harm to us, but in order to have a say in the decisions administrators make.
As students, we blow matters out of proportion so we can talk about them. We criticize administrative policies because if we don’t, there would be no grounds for discussion at all. In the grander scheme of things, the actual policy is not as important as the discussion that comes with it-the communication between students and administrators that is a waning, yet still integral, part of Stuyvesant politics.
Besides covering the news, the only thing a student paper can do is complain. For better or worse, this is how we enforce our power in the school community. This is how we show administrators our public dissent. This is how we, as students, stand up for ourselves. This is how we, as the pride of this school and this city, demonstrate our need to be heard.