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August 19, 2012

A Word of Advice: Learning and growing over the years

It’s hard to believe my time with you has come to an end.

It’s sad to say that this is my last college article that I will be writing for The Daily Star. I started writing my column more than three years ago, and I definitely have learned a lot from this experience. I had the chance to grow myself by learning about responsibilities, deadlines and thinking on my feet.

Writing an advice column once a month opened my eyes to a lot of things that we teens deal with.

We start our first jobs, join sports, take part in clubs. We have to balance family, school and friends. We deal with bullying and peer pressure. Some of us have to deal with divorce. We learn to give back to the community, and how to spend our summer wisely. The point is, teenagers have a lot to deal with and sometimes we have no idea how to go about certain situations. I hope I have guided some of you in a positive way and, if not, I hope you at least read my columns and got some information out of them.

There were always key points that were important to remember throughout my columns. If your parents are going through a divorce, talk to someone about how you feel; a relative, friend or even a teacher. Understand that it’s not something you can influence, people sometimes grow apart, and at some point, can only find happiness again by moving on.

When it comes to the summer there are many different activities you can participate in. Some of you just want to relax and hangout with your friends; however, if you want to be independent and enjoy spending your own cash, you may want to consider getting a job. Even if it’s a part-time job, you will still receive extra money. Also giving back to the community is a way to help out your town, feel good about yourself and it looks good on your resume for college and work.

When it comes to the summer, you always have to look out for yourself _ whether it’s applying sunscreen or bug spray or remembering the buddy system when you go out. It’s nice to think that the world is perfect and that no one will harm you, but that’s not reality. Whenever you are going somewhere, just grab a friend!

Eating healthy does not mean sticking to only salads. Trade in that bag of chips for a celery sticks. You can make healthy but still delicious choices that will help you get the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, you can’t be in good physical shape by just eating properly; you need to do some exercise to feel and look your best. In the long run, it will always pay off!

The last thing I want to talk about is parents. Always remember to appreciate what they do for you. I know from experience that parents can be harsh and annoying … but from a good place. They sometimes have to be harsh for you to understand where they are coming from. We have to remember our parents were all teenagers once, so they talk from experience. If you ever are in doubt of something or need to ask something, they are the people to go to. Luckily my parents have supported me throughout my column-writing and I appreciate that very much. It’s always easier to accomplish something with a support system behind you.

Growing up brings changes. Sometimes, very big changes. I have been a part of the Daily Star for so long, I can honestly say I’m going to miss being able to talk to those of you who have taken the time to read my thoughts. Yes, like all responsibilities in life, it’s not always been a pleasure cruise. There are times it’s been frustrating trying to come up with new and interesting material while I have so much else going on in my life. But that’s part of growing up and you’ll all face issues like this as you do.

Life is moving on for me and while there is most certainly a sadness that I feel, there’s also an excitement about where life is taking me next. I wish all of you the very best that life has to offer and hope, like me, you’ll find a personal growth in something you do.

Melissa Flathmann, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a rising sophomore at the State University College at Plattsburgh. The Daily Star is seeking a teen writer to take over the teen advice column. To be considered for the position, please email a sample column to For more information, call Lifestyle Editor Denielle Ziemba at 432-1000, ext. 259, or email her at the above address.

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