Letter from the Editor: Back to School

Angie Ripple  |   Sunday Aug. 31st, 2014

It was Montana State University that brought me from my small town in Northwest Montana to Bozeman 19 years ago. After many years, and several degree changes I now have degrees from both Montana State University and the University of Bridger Bowl.

As a local vendor at the Catapalooza event for the past five + years (giving away magazines, Food Scenes and Bozeman info) I get to see incoming Freshman, their parents, faculty and older students flock to campus and prepare for the first days of school each August. Some years it reminds me that I am getting older, this year it renewed my sense of adventure. Seeing so many young people beginning their new lives as students is a good way to begin an autumn season of renewal.     
This fall my husband and I  will be sending our son (middle child) to kindergarten. The anticipation in our household has been building all summer. Our five year old son is anxious about all the new things just around the corner. The transition from half days at preschool to full days “at his sisters school” seems to have him a bit worried. My husband and I are excited for him. We are also looking forward to focusing more time on our entrepreneurship, with only one child “working from home” with us.

The comparisons of being a kindergartner and being a college freshman aren’t hard to draw. Both are entering worlds they are not at all ready for, although they probably both think they can handle anything and everything. Many will miss their parents while they are off at school. Both will face challenges they never knew existed. Both won’t know what they don’t know. Both will lean on what they have learned from parents, elders and siblings. Peer pressure will be felt by both incoming classes, both will see others acting in ways they have never seen. Both will make it through with a little help from their friends.   

Thinking back to my first days at MSU it would be really nice to be able to go back and give my 19 year old college freshman self a few pointers.

Here are few I’d share:
1. It doesn’t matter where you came from it’s where you’re going. Do something (or many things) that are worthwhile.
2. Life is a journey that never ends. There will be ups and downs, yearly, monthly and probably even daily. You can make it, enjoy the adventure.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your education seriously, but have a good time.
4. Listen to your friends. If you don’t have many friends - make some!
5. Never forget your roots. Both your territorial and spiritual roots make you unique. Being from Montana is not a handicap, it is a blessing.
6. Make yourself proud.
Have a great year whether you are entering college, a new career, sending a child off to kindergarten, middle school or high school; we are all on a journey. The journey is the reward.    

About the Author(s)