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By: Heston Heller
September 01, 2013


Every year we dread it. We can’t get away from it, and every August we go back to it - school. We tend to think it is the worst idea to be placed in a room and learn nonstop for eight hours each day, sighing with frustration, avoiding the work and in some cases even sleeping through the lesson! 

We automatically favor teachers who do not give homework and unfairly assign those that do with disdain. We groan when we wake up on a Monday and scream in delight during the last bell on Friday. Even someone as famous as Eminem was quoted, “I was a smart kid, but I didn’t like school.” Why is it that WE should appreciate the time we are in school? The answer starts with inspiration: inspiration from our teachers, our friends and ourselves.

During high school, I was extremely blessed to have many impactful coaches and teachers. I learned much in the classroom from each and every one of them, but nothing quite compared to sitting in the passenger seat of the Anson FFA truck with Mr. Scitern, discussing anything and everything on a long Area II road trip.

Somewhere between the windblown city of Lubbock and the sleepy little town of Anson, I realized that classroom learning was great, but the life lessons I learned from a mentor like him were invaluable. One time, on our way back from Area CDEs in Lubbock, we were talking about the windmills in the Snyder area when he said, “Most people don’t like them right by their house, because they make such a huge sound.” I didn’t believe him. Instead of blowing it off and driving, he stopped the car next to a windmill and showed me exactly what he was talking about. It was a small thing, but it showed even more that he was willing to teach not just in the classroom but outside as well. He showed that his inspiration didn’t stop at the door but continued with him always.

You associate with people who have a very big influence and inspiration on you, your friends. “Your friends define who you are!” said my mom when I was going into the seventh grade. I thought it was dumb when she said that to me, because I thought I was the only one who could define me.

One day in high school, I realized she was right when I walked into the main hallway to see my best friend and I were wearing matching clothes from head to toe. I could have picked any t-shirt, any pair of jeans and tennis shoes, but I picked the ones that my best friend also had. I, even with the smallest thing, realized that I had been influenced by my friend to dress that way. No, the clothes you wear don’t define you, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how you’re being influenced. Your inspiration comes from your surroundings. If you’re surrounded by friends, then they will be the ones you draw your inspiration from.

Finally, look at yourself and think about whom you are a friend to. The same goes for you being able to inspire your friends and the people around you. If you are a positive individual, more than likely the people around you will be upbeat. On the same note, if you are negative, then the people around you are also going to be down in the dumps.

You carry the ability at school to influence and inspire someone, no matter the age group. When I came home my freshman year of college, I had started wearing some of my hats backwards. I was around my younger cousins quite often, and I noticed they started to wear their hats backwards as well. They had never done that before, and their dad didn’t want them to wear their hat like that. However, their older cousin did, so they were determined to do it also. It was a nice gut check and harmless interaction to realize what kind of influence and inspiration I could have on the people around me.

We might take for granted school and sitting in the classroom, but you must recognize that because of what and who school exposes us to, we don’t just learn in the classroom, but outside as well. That also means our own inspiration and influence goes above and beyond the bounds of any school yard, and you never know who you will inspire.

“You can count the seed in an orange, but you can never count the oranges in a seed,” Henry Musoma said.