It’s back to school for almost everyone now. Households are cluttered with an array of emotions this week. Amid stress and anxiety, there’s also excitement and relief to get back into the routine. For many, it’s the beginning of their journey of discovery. For others, it’s another footstep forward on a path toward enlightenment. Graduation, however, is a myth. It’s merely a marking milestone in the quest for a diploma. Life has lesson plans prepared for each of us, beyond graduation. We’re enrolled, from birth, in a curriculum of coursework and continuing education that, hopefully, concludes with an illuminating final you’ll ace. It’s a journey filled with opportunities, hardships, and heartaches. The lessons we learn in school are prerequisites preparing us for the upper level studies of life. You’ll learn as much from a bully as you will a book. Sadly, tormentors are teachers too. At any age and every stage, bad people exist. They take on many forms. The mazes of the hallways in the school of hard knocks are filled with conniving colleagues, belittling bosses and scheming scoundrels of every kind. But here’s something I’ve learned along the way. Most of the Machiavellian monsters you’ll encounter are totally terrified of you. They detest your talents. To them, your confidence is contemptible. They envy intellect and harbor hatred for happiness. Pay no attention to these tyrants. Pity them. Their terrible torture is the inner torment they experience from unfulfilled lives. Don’t take on their turmoil. Sure, they can beat you up physically or emotionally but they can’t keep you down. Do your homework. You’ll discover tons of terrific teachers and tutors eager to refine your focus, highlight what’s important in the chapters of your life, and help you realize your individual awesomeness. They’ll show you how to calculate the value of compassion and develop a compelling chemistry of character that will enrich the world forever. Make these remarkable masters of “the experience” your most meaningful mentors. Let them nurture your uniqueness and prepare you to unleash it into an awaiting world in need of something good. Be an astute student, of all things at all times. Remember. Life is a classroom. Pay careful attention. When it’s over, there just might be a test.
– Jim Shock, LBSPY #40 (Aug 26-Sept. 9th, 2013)
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.