Take advantage of high school offerings

Published 10:33 am Thursday, September 5, 2013

Column: A Happy Medium, by Erin Murtaugh

The following is a short column I wrote for the first day of school issue of the Ahlahasa:

This may seem like your typical cliche column, but I hope at least some of you take this seriously. As we enter this school year, don’t be afraid to be who you truly are. People tend to mesh together into one group and conform together into something they aren’t really.

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This year, I challenge you to be yourself. Step away from what’s “in” and what’s “out” in fashion. Wear what you want. Be a hipster of your own kind. No one needs to wear a certain thing to fit in. Just because your friends are choosing to wear all the latest trends, doesn’t mean you need to. Find what you like and wear it.

Clothing isn’t the only thing that sets someone up to be a unique individual. If you want to learn how to play the didgeridoo, then do it. Join chess club. Go to sporting events. Try out for the fall musical or the spring play. Take electives that interest you. Make new friends. There are around 1,000 kids in this school. Chances are, you share a lot more in common with someone you’d least expect.

Be yourself and the rest will follow. Embrace your “you-ness.” You go, Glen Coco!”

This is a challenge I give to not only the students of Albert Lea High School, but everyone who reads this column. Be yourself. Challenge others to be themselves and stand out from the crowd. Do what is right, not what is the “cool” thing to do. Too often, I see people make the wrong decisions because they are afraid of what people will think of them. Stop. Take a step back and think for a minute about what is right and what is wrong.

Parents, encourage your children to reach out and try what they’re interested in. Keep them on a positive path. Reward them for doing the right thing when life gets hard. Stay involved in their life and ask questions. Become not only their parent, but their best friend, too.

Teachers, let students know you care. Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed with school, work and life that we forget this. Remind students you are there to help them anytime.

Community members, show your support. Come to concerts, sporting events and other school functions. Show us you care and cheer us on.

If everyone accepted each other for who they truly are and cheered on each other, wouldn’t it be just an awesome life? Give it a shot.


Albert Lea resident Erin Murtaugh is a senior at Albert Lea High School.