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Archive for Monday, August 15, 2011

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Double Take: Sound advice for a fresh start to the school year

August 15, 2011

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Wes: This week we welcome Miranda Davis, Free State High School senior, who won a tough contest in April to become the eighth co-author of Double Take. From time to time I like to remind readers what a truly unique opportunity this column offers.

I came up with the original idea in consultation with a couple of teenagers back in 2004 after realizing that bookstores were full of magazines about parenting babies and small children and devoid of periodicals on parenting teens. My consultants argued that any such column would be far more useful if it included the voices of those being parented. The Journal-World agreed and in November Double Take went to press. Those same two teens served as its first co-authors. Today the online version is read around the world as well as being posted and linked by websites dedicated to everything from sexuality to tattoos.

When I say Double Take is a unique opportunity, you might think I mean the chance it gives high school students to write for publication. True enough. But what’s really special is the chance it gives us to read what they have to say. Sure, it’s fun when I’m approached on the street about something I’ve written or have to field a thankful or critical email about my advice. But it’s far more gratifying to hear a comment on the work of my co-authors. I’m sure Miranda has a great year ahead of her. Keep the emails coming.

Miranda: A few days ago I came home to find the kitchen buried in school supplies and my mom asking me about what kind of a new lunch box I wanted. She was also humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” In response, I did the adult thing and ran from the room with my ears plugged. Though I may have appeared to be 5 at the time, I will be turning 18 soon, and it seems like my attitudes about August haven’t changed much in 13 years.

As teens we dread the end of summer like nothing else, the signal to start getting up before 11, to do homework and become functioning members of society again.

It’s a time of uncertainty for us, wondering if we’ll like our classes, meet new people and have a manageable workload. Seniors have the additional stress of college and scholarship applications, ACT, SAT, etc. Freshmen and sophomores have to deal with a new environment, with no idea what to expect.

Change is an inevitable part of growing up. We all have to deal with it at some point. These times are often the scariest, the most challenging, and yet the most rewarding.

They are the moments that take us out of our comfort zone but in the end let us grow.

I encourage everyone to embrace August or at least not dread it. It is the official season of change. Push yourself to try something new like a club, sport or class. A new year of high school presents lots of opportunities to branch out and do things that really interest you. Still, it seems too soon.

Next week: Places phones don’t belong.

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