School
"Education is the light that can illuminate all your paths"
When you walk in a dark path, all you want is a light. Education is the light that can illuminate all your paths. I grew up in Jordan. The first day in my school was like being in a garbage can where no one cares about you or whether you learned or not. There was food on the floor and broken desks and tables. All the teacher did was sit on his desk, drinking coffee and hitting anyone who was late or forgot their homework. I woke up every day at six in the morning -- not because I was excited for school but because I couldn’t afford the bus. I walked two miles to school and would get there late. That was like hell. I would find the teacher standing outside holding his cigar and his long stick and he would be so happy to hit me. He didn’t hit me once or twice and he didn’t stop when I started to cry. He only stopped when he felt tired. I started to skip school every day and went to work illegally as a trash picker. Trash picking might sound like a disgusting job but it paid me good money and helped support my family. All I needed to do was take the things that rich people threw out and that could be sold to scrap collectors, like metal or furniture. At the end of the day, I would go to the river to wash off the bad smell. When my parents asked me where I got the money, I always said  found it or borrowed it because they might have a heart attack if they knew their son was picking trash instead of going to school. One day in 2012, I remember my father telling me that we were leaving for the United States tomorrow. I collapsed on the floor. Today, I’m excited to go to school. I’m living a beautiful life. I’m finally on my way to achieving my mother’s dream of me going to college. When you are educated, the doors of happiness will open for you.
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Swordfights, space warriors, and great music -- “Steven Universe” is about all that and much more, a magical show about a magical boy. The Cartoon Network program has many reasons behind its huge audience. The fan base not only includes kids, but teens and adults, who are charmed by this funny, cute, surprisingly deep, and LGBTQ-friendly offering. The main character is a young and sensitive boy named Steven. And here we already see how different this show is: Steven is presented as pretty much anything but traditionally masculine. He is not afraid of showing his emotions in front of his friends and family. With all these gender norms built up in the media, it’s good to see a cartoon protagonist who breaks those pesky stereotypes. Steven is being raised with the help of three alien warriors called the crystal gems. Their bodies are actually projections generated by their stones -- think of it like holograms but with mass. The crystal gems and his father take care of Steven after his mother, who was also a crystal gem, gave up her physical form to birth Steven. His mother leaves Steven with some of her gem powers. This makes Steven a gem/human hybrid. At one point, Steven fuses with Connie, his human friend, and becomes “Stevonnie” -- a genderless being. In that episode, they even refrained from using gender pronouns for the time they were “Stevonnie.” This innovative show portrays many types of multi-faceted relationships and displays love in a unique and positive manner.
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I draw because it makes me happy. I draw to get a different view on things. I draw to let my emotions out. I draw because it is simple…and hard. I draw and then I can be recognized by others. I draw because it’s something to do when I’m bored. I draw to show that I can get through a challenge by myself. I draw because for every stroke of my pencil, pen, colored pencil, marker; for every line, dot, or color I put on a paper, it’s like I’m putting a piece of myself there. And who doesn’t want to put a piece of themselves into everything they do?
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Meet a Young Reporter: Adamajan Bah
Teens in Print student writers come from neighborhoods and schools across the city. Meet one young reporter, Adamajan.  When a friend offered free pizza one afternoon during her freshman year, Adamajan Bah did not hesitate to accept the invitation. She soon found herself among fellow “TIPsters”. She looked around at the other students, hard at work writing their next big story, and pictured herself among them. She recalls a conversation she had with TIP Coordinator Ric Kahn that afternoon: “I asked him, ‘Why do you write?’ He told me he writes to express himself… I want to do something like that.” Adamajan’s first interview was “awkward.” She remembers nervously standing in Copley Library, stuttering over her words and earning weird looks from teens. Panic began to set in—what was she going to tell Ric when she came back with no sources?—when one passerby offered to be interviewed. Adamajan had to ask this girl, “Are you for real?” before reeling through her list of questions—and successfully making it through that first interview. She remembers the “amazing feeling” seeing her name as the byline of her first published article at TIP. Amidst her excitement, she shared her accomplishment by sending the article to the one girl that made it possible that day in Copley Library. Those days of awkward interviews seem far in the distance for Adamajan, who aspires to be a leading voice for her generation. Her passion for writing shines through when she focuses on one of her favorite topics, her religion. She uses writing to shed light on the struggles of being Muslim in America. In one article, Adamajan describes being terrified of not knowing how other will react when she wore a hijab—the Islamic headscarf—to school for the first time. Despite her fears, Adamajan knew the importance of sharing her experience. One of many things that motivates Adamajan to write is the hope that her words will be comforting to others similar to her. As she says, “By me expressing myself and expressing the struggles I’ve had in my life, in my 17 years of living, I feel like other people can relate to that.”She pictures herself incorporating her passion for writing and religion in college by studying abroad, to fully immerse herself in a different culture and belief system. Adamajan plans to attend a four-year college to study medicine and religion or education. She will be the first in her family to attend college.  
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