Tolentino, Noah G

You're Not The Only One

Question 1: What years were you in middle school?

I was in middle school from 1986-1987.
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Question 2: What kinds of music, movies, and fashions were popular at the time?

Music that was popular at the time was mostly by artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince. Music was often presented in music videos, and on the radio there were often top 10 lists. I used to listen to merengue a lot as well, since I grew up in a Dominican family. For movies, I watched stuff on TV since I didn't go to the movie theater a lot. I watched shows like Cheers, Knight Rider, and Punky Brewster, and big movies like Ghostbusters. Arcades were also popular in the 80's, with games like Pac-man and Tetris. At-home video game consoles like Nintendo had just come out. Since I grew up poor, I didn't have much access to 80's fashion, but people wore things like shell top Adidas and stonewash jeans. They liked to wear neon colors and stuff that celebrities wore.
Michael Jackson - Thriller

Question 3: What were your favorite activities in middle school? What were your hobbies and interests?

I was doing plays in middle school like West Side Story, and I was in a "typing club", which was basically a group of the school's best typers. I liked to play unorganized street sports with my friends after school. I was into breakdancing and being a DJ, and I liked to listen to music.
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Question 4: What job/interests/activities do you have now? Is there a connection between what you liked back then and what enjoy today?

I like to hike, bike, and spend time with family in my spare time. Also, I'm the Environmental Health and Safety manager at my job in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which makes medicines to cure cancer. My job is to reduce the company's environmental impact as much as possible. I think what sparked my liking for nature is the fact that my cousins and I used to play at a nearby river called the Woonasquatucket. We went fishing, hiking, and swimming there.

Question 5: What was the best part about being in middle school?

The best part about being in middle school was the independence of going from classroom to classroom, and having more than one teacher. A lot of my friends and family went to my middle school, Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School.

Question 6: What was the worst part about being in middle school?

The worst part about being in middle school was that I had to be bused across the city to school. It was a long ride, and I had to wait a while for the bus. It was especially bad in the winter when it was freezing cold.

Question 7: How would you describe your middle school self?

I was reserved yet social. I usually kept to myself and had my own group of friends. I was smart, but I wasn't really, really smart, and I was okay athletic but not a super athlete.

Question 8: What advice about growing up would you give to kids my age?

Be well rounded. Try to participate in a variety of activities, so you have a background in everything, and try hard in each one. This will help you in your future life in things like getting a good job.

Question 9: What was your family life like back when you were a kid?

My family was very close. I used to spend weekends at my grandparents' house with all my brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles. We slept over and the entire family would spend days partying, dancing and eating together. We used to have a family band and go to our neighbors' houses and play Dominican music. My family moved around a lot. For one period of time we lived in the Projects, government-paid houses in Providence, because we were poor.
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Question 10: What were your favorite and least favorite subjects in middle school?

My favorite subject in middle school was math. I had a natural talent for math; it came to me easily. My least favorite subject was writing, because I had to write so much and it was time-consuming.