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Editorial: Going back to school

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2013

I want to talk to the kids, teens and young adults for a second.

First of all, good on you for picking up and reading the paper. Itís important to be as informed as possible about events in your town and beyond. Iím not saying that to talk down to you; I really mean that and appreciate your trust in our abilities to provide you with the latest news.

There are those among you who arenít looking forward to school. I never like to write bad news, but itís right around the corner.

I canít say I blame you. I hated homework. At the ripe old age of 28, I still have homework in the form of late-night meetings, breaking news or even just staying late and getting to work early to make sure the paper gets out on time and looking its best. What Iím saying is homework is not going away; it's a necessary evil, and it'll always be there in some form.

Donít get bummed out yet; all work pays off in some way. Right now, schoolís your job. You may not see it like that now, but schoolís teaching you skills youíll use for the rest of your life. I use math every day in a bunch of ways, and reading and writing are both very important to me. Science classes were my favorite; there are so many fascinating things about the world around us if we stop to look.

Some of that class work may never come back. I never saw algebra again, for example, but it helped me develop logic, and that comes in handy nowadays.

Even if you think itís pointless, work as hard at it as you can. Trust me; it will help you and it'll feel great in the end knowing you gave it your all.

Schoolís not all homework, though. Thereís a lot school on all levels can offer you outside of class: sports, theater, clubs, the 4-H and FFA programs, band and more. Find something you like, and, if youíre able, get involved. For me, I joined the band. Iíve written about my time with the marching, jazz, pep and concert bands in the past. Being so involved in the band gave me a love for music that continues today, some long-lasting friends and enough stories to fill a column or two.

Some of you are moving on to a new school this year. You especially might be tempted to try to change yourself so people will like you. Donít force yourself to like something just because everyone else does. This retells the point I made earlier; be yourself and do what you love. When I was in college, I joined the juggling club. My friends from church got me involved in the club, and because of the club, I made even more friends. Juggling can be a little off-beat and weird, but I was doing something I love with people I love.

Yeah, juggling and circus acts might be considered weird and cool at the same time, and I might be a nerd for participating in it, and thatís ok. We should all be nerds about something.

One of my favorite people is author/YouTuber John Green, who once said this: ďNerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-canít-control-yourself love it ... When people call people nerds, mostly what theyíre saying is Ďyou like stuff.í Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, Ďyou are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousnessí.Ē

So find your niche; find the place where you fit, and don't ever give up until you find it. Don't be afraid to stray from the things you know you love to try something new. Talk to someone you've never met.

What I'm saying is this: work hard, do your best and always be true to yourself. It's clichť advice, yes, but there's good reason it's stuck around for as long as it has.

Have a good year, guys and gals. Iím glad we had this talk.

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