Jul 04, 2020
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Boy wizard, rock legends prove models for the new school year

Here I go again on my own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known. Yes, it’s odd when the lyrics to a Whitesnake song actually sum up what’s happening in your life. But summer has run its course. We’re all taking our usual positions in the classroom, and here we go again.

Maybe this is your first semester at Fresno State, or perhaps this is your last (meaning you will be graduating, not that death is looming around the next corner). It could be you’re excited about school and having the opportunity to succeed, or you might be dreading boring classes and the possibility of failure. But in any case, this is not your first time coming back to school.

Your entire education so far has involved this cycle of retreat from and return to school, and here you are all over again.

I always have an interesting mixture of feelings boiling in my stomach during the first few weeks of school. I had it at the beginning and I have it now in my last year. There is always the vague sense that this school year could either be very good or very bad. It’s what makes coming back interesting.

And everyone faces the challenge of returning in a different way. Maybe you’ve been having nightmares of being five hours late for your first class, or you’ve been putting all your energy into finding the perfect fall wardrobe, or you’ve been reading and prepping for classes you know will be difficult or you’ve been spending extra time playing X-Box because you know you won’t have as much time to once school starts. Whatever it is, it’s your way of coping with the stress and agitation of returning.

But we’ve done this all before, at least twelve times. Why is it still so agitating?

Well once again we need to learn a lesson from Mr. Harry Potter, whose adventures came to a gratifyingly decisive end this summer (though seriously, what the hell was up with all the camping?).

Harry Potter might not be the most brilliant kid around, or the most morally upright, or the most emotionally stable, but he certainly has a healthy sense of adventure. Every year the kid goes back to school he is guaranteed some series of riddles and dark secrets to uncover.

Is it possible that we are agitated about returning to school because, though we don’t care to admit it, deep down we hope and almost expect to have an adventure, just like Harry as he rides the Hogwarts Express back to school each year?

Certainly I don’t mean that we will be unveiling the secrets of a Lord Voldemort character, but there is an element of the unexpected in all things, a shadow that falls across the routine and gives it some interest and we want to be ready for it.

The high-point of most semesters isn’t a certain course.

It’s the guy or gal who catches your eye as you walk to the Science 2 building, the experience of actually being five hours late to class, the release of Halo 3 and that one glorious test when you study your ass off and then get every single question right.

Last year I preached kindness in the first article of the semester. Now I say, “Courage!” Study and work hard, but be ready for adventure to come knocking at your door to pull you away from your comfort and your plans.

And when the time comes be decisive, have courage and get yourself out there.

Take rock-legend David Coverdale’s example. In his infinite wisdom he said, “I’ve made up my mind. I ain’t wastin’ no more time. Here I go again.”

Timothy Ellison is a senior majoring in classical studies with a minor in English.

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