Nearly eight years after graduating, rarely do I think back to my high school years. But through my coverage of Sherman High School’s annual College Night, the memories of applying for college and waiting on that acceptance letter came through again.

Some people describe their time in high school as the best years of their lives, but that was not my experience. I had little in common with the students in my grade, my older friends graduated well before me, and, to help ensure that I never got too full of myself, I sported some serious acne. I enjoyed being on the tennis team and working on the yearbook and though I considered myself a nerd back then, there certainly came a time when I was lacking in academic motivation.

My freshman and sophomore year went well and I made good grades, but by the time junior year rolled around, I was content with being a lower end “B” student. My complacency came back to bite me though when it came time to start applying for schools. I don’t know if the word “struggle” would aptly describe the process, but I certainly had to draw some attention to my extracurriculars in the hopes that they might push me over the top.

After several months of waiting, I got into all but one of the schools to which I had applied. While I was in high school, I never really thought about how life would be different after graduation. But going to college was perhaps the best decision and experience of my life. It allowed me to think on a broader scale, to appreciate different perspectives and to rely on myself like I hadn’t before. And most satisfying of all, I got great grades.

As I watched students and their families at the college fair on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but be excited for them. Though I think I turned out pretty well, I do wish I had put in a little more effort during my high school years. So, I encourage all the high school students out there to stick with their academics. And I encourage all students to at least consider college as an option. If you’re anything like me, it could be the best choice you ever make.

Happy birthday Thursday to Elizabeth Jean Polk, Shirley Watson, Zac Anderson, Leonard Bell Jr., Nicky Brown, Bill Waldrip, and Jimmy Daniel, all of Sherman; Ronnie Riddle and Lisa Jackson, both of Denison; Libbey Hickman of Southmayd; Bill Barnes of Trenton; Lynda Lou Uphouse of Aubrey; Gerald Hannan and Janet Buck, both of Colbert, Okla.; and Blaine Sadler of Leonard.