Column: Things high school didn’t teach me, but those 4 years did

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Stu Mair

The past four years have taught Sports Editor Kevin Davis more than in-classroom learning could.

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of farewells from some of the seniors on The Red Ledger staff.

As cliche as it sounds, my years of being a Lovejoy Leopard seemed like they would never come to an end. I thought I would never forgive my parents when they broke the news to me that we would be moving to a school called “Lovejoy.” But now that my eight-and-a-half years as a Leopard has come to an end, I will be forever grateful that I was able to be a part of this fantastic school district.

Apart from the countless hours spent learning in the classroom, I believe the high school experience outside of the class has taught me so much more valuable information that I will bring with me to my later ventures in life. Lessons I have learned the last four years are truly countless.

First, make as many relationships as you can. Thankfully, I was raised by two parents who ingrained a mindset in me that is second to none, and I owe that all to them. Part of that mindset is always looking at the cup as half full. This is vital in making relationships and friendships with people in high school, which ultimately has enriched the experience so much for me. I have come across people whose first instinct is to search for anything negative they can find in people. Whether it be coaches, teachers, peers, parents, etc., always focus on the positive attributes of others. Taking this approach will help you expand your circle and make more friends, which will finally make you happier and also more comfortable as an LHS student.

To go along with making great relationships, be involved. Play sports, take extra-curriculars, go to sporting events, anything. Combining being involved with making great relationships has the ability to improve your high school experience in ways you may not realize. The relationships you will gain through extracurriculars, specifically with coaches, have the ability to be the single greatest thing about high school, and it was for me. Coach Cox is the prime reason behind how greatly I value my career as a Leopard football player. Of course other factors like my teammates and love for the game are factors, but without building a strong relationship with Coach Cox I would not have been so dedicated to the Leopard football program as I was. That relationship made me a stronger leader, a harder worker, and pushed me out of my comfort zone and, in a way, made me fearless. Above all of that, without Coach Cox, I believe that I would not have been given the opportunity to continue playing football in college, which has been a goal of mine for longer than I can remember.

Another cliche piece of advice I have to give is to be yourself. You always hear people say “be yourself” and “don’t change for anyone.” The reason these sayings are so cliche is because they are true. I have always made a conscious effort to be me and do what I feel is best for myself. Listening to the music I like. Wearing the clothes I want to wear. Making decisions for the sake of my happiness. Not trying to impress anyone other than me.

It may come off as selfish in a way, but a certain type of selfishness will make you a happier person. There will be people who are hesitant to accept you for being yourself, but that is fine. That just makes it easier to decipher the people who truly care about you from the ones who don’t.  

Finally, live it up. I’ve always taken the approach of high school being the last years with no legitimate worries and the last years with the security of living under my parents’ roof. That being said, I’ve tried to have as much fun as possible. Having the opportunity to be able to make memories with the kids that you have grown up with is something that won’t be found after high school, and I decided to take full advantage of that opportunity.