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Jessie Pravacek, Assistant Editor/ Copy Editor

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Today was a different kind of refreshing. My lab/practicum class went on a so-called, glorified field trip. We went to the Lead-Deadwood Boys and Girls Club. When we got there, kids were scattered across the entire building, on the floor, in the chairs and dangling from the table.  

 “Oh boy,” I sighed, “this is going to be a long class period.”  

 Don’t get me wrong, kids are amazing, but how do you entertain a wide variety of age groups with the same activities, when the obviously have different interests? 

 I took a step forward and decided to grab some sheets of blank paper, markers and crayons and sat on the floor. I leaned over to a group of three girls who all seemed to be about the same age, roughly six.  

 “Do you girls want to draw with me?” I asked with a half-smile on my face.  

All three girls looked at me as though they were unimpressed and continued to play with their high-tech toys. Talk about discouraging. I am still young, roughly 21, but perhaps I have lost touch with the younger generation after all.  

I have been having a rougher time than usual. Perhaps it is the weather change, but how can my favorite season (fall) still make me so sad? Some days seem darker than the rest and I try to combat this with smiles and music. Maybe this time with the kids is just what I needed.

I tried once more and asked again. This time two girls shrugged their shoulders and softly whispered “sure” and slid across the floor to sit with me as the third one, still silent, followed.  

 My circle began to grow, and more kids joined. We had short conversations, mostly them asking if I “really am a college kid”. I shrugged and every time it was followed with a “yes”. They chimed back with “do you know ******”. Every time I responded “no”. I am sure they think everyone knows everyone, the same as their school, the same I did when I was their age, so I played along.  

 The kids drew dragons and rainbows and even convinced me to draw a heart of my own. We all became more comfortable around each other and the conversations grew.  

 Soon two mischievous boys found their way to sit next to me. One was in stripes and the other in a football jersey. Seth and Owen were their names, but whoever claimed which name I am unsure of. They sat down, expecting me to have a something to say prepared. I handed them blank paper and also two pieces with the “bear head” on them.

The boys were busy drawing. Just that. Just drawing. I sat there talking to others, but also kept track of the two boys’ conversation. Neither them nor myself knew I needed to be hearing their conversations right then in that moment.  

Like I said, I have been struggling lately. The usual college struggle, I suppose. Struggling with the sight of my future and finding myself worrying about things that didn’t deserve my time at all.  

The boy in the stripes dropped his colored pencil and looked up at me from his drawing with an absolute worried expression and said, “I’m really not looking forward to first grade.” 

I giggled at his innocence. Not because it was actually funny, but because it was so pure. 

I replied, “Oh no, why are you not looking forward to it?”  

“I don’t want to grow up. Kindergarten is really hard but all of my friends are fun and I don’t want to leave.” 

The innocence was refreshing and made me reflect on things in my own life.  

I didn’t want to grow up either, I thought. In that thought, a lot of my worries diminished for that moment. And thus, I found that I needed that trip more than I knew.  

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