School is here again

Gray Hughes

Back to school, back to school.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Chances are you’re reading this either the day Hill City students are going back to school or the day after.

Let me tell you what: as a child, one of my favorite days of the year was the day I went back to school. Yes, I was always sad to see the summer end, but I was probably one of a handful of kids in the entire nation who loved school.

And the first day of school was special. Oh, I loved it so much. You got to talk with friends about what you did that summer (even if you spent the entire summer with them). If you’re younger, you get to show off some of the cool new school supplies you got, like that customized trapper keeper with your initials on it. (Wait, no one else did that? Just me?) When you got a little older, maybe you got to show off that new car you worked for the entire summer.

Whether or not you are young or old, you have to admit: the beginning of the school year is like starting a new chapter in a book — only the pages are blank. As a student, you got to write your own story.

But, for me, the most exciting part about going back to school was actually being in school.

First, believe it or not I’m a huge nerd. I love learning, I love being around books and I love being intellectually challenged. School, of course, was the perfect area where I got to do this.

Granted, there were some classes where I did not excel. Please don’t ask me anything about science or math. My lackluster performance in those classes speaks for itself. It wasn’t for a lack of trying (most of the time). I’m legitimately not good at them, and no amount of time spent with a tutor, the teacher or another classmate helping me out could fix that.

Art and music were never strong subjects for me, either. Art for me is tricky. My hands shake, and my art reflected that. And for music, I don’t know why, but it just seemed like my mind couldn’t wrap itself around playing an instrument (I tried two: guitar and trumpet. I was terrible at both). And when it comes to singing, please, please, please don’t ask me to sing for you unless you want your ears to bleed.

Also, I’m not a very patient person (a fault I have no issue admitting). I got frustrated whenever I tried to do art or music because, quite honestly, I didn’t have the patience to take it up and do it over time. If I wasn’t immediately good at it, I lost interest in it pretty quickly.

As you might have guessed, my strongest subjects (besides lunch and recess) were English, history and social studies classes. Those are the subjects I truly enjoyed, and those are the subjects in which I truly did well.

Second reason why I enjoyed school was being able to participate in clubs and activities. I was never athletically gifted. Yes, I played lacrosse in high school, but I think I racked up more penalty minutes than minutes on the field. I was more of a “mathlete.” I was in mock trial, Model UN, academic challenge team and student government. It was my strengths in English, history and social studies that allowed me to excel in those clubs.

I really enjoyed doing my after school activities, and let me tell you: all of those clubs and activities made a very large, positive impact on my life. Mock trial and academic challenge taught me to think on my feet, and Model UN and student government taught me how to get along and communicate well with people.

But my favorite part of school? Well, that’s easy, my friends. It was my friends.

I had a pretty close group of friends all throughout school. I still try to talk with them as much as possible even to this day.

My friends are the ones who made me enjoy school. I was in a lot of classes with my friends, and I was always able to get a friend or two to do my after-school activities with me.

My school was unique in that we were small. We had no “popular” kids; we didn’t really have cliques or bullying. What we did have was a group of people that accepted you for who you are and pushed you to succeed.

I’m pretty different from my high school friends, and my friend group was diverse. In a typical school, we probably wouldn’t have hung out. My friend group had those who liked trucks, those who were really into sports and those who kind of fit in between. Me, though? Well, if you’re a fan of “The Office,” you’ll get what I’m saying when I say I was more similar to Andy Bernard (still am).

But we all wanted each other to do well, and we all looked out for one another. When I tore my ACL in my senior year of high school, it was my friends who would drive me around to my doctor’s appointments or to McDonalds. They would help carry my books to class and would help me whenever I needed a hand with my crutches.

If I was having a tough time, I always knew they were a phone call or text away. They helped me through some pretty rough places in my life. I am forever grateful for the friendships I formed in school.

I get that school can be tricky for some, especially high school. I understand that I’m rare for enjoying school. But look for those you can relate to. Look to those who are willing to lend a hand when you’re down. Who cares if you’re popular? Look for those friendships that will really last a lifetime and, yes, will make going to school enjoyable.

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