Growing Up In Schuylkill County

Growing Up In Schuylkill County

"Yo dere Bot"

With the recent events of high school graduations in the area and listening to the speeches about how it's the foundation we were made on, I've decided to do my own reminiscing about what it was like to grow up in the one-of-a-kind Schuylkill County. I was one of those people who always wanted to leave. I thought I hated it and that I would never get anything out of it. I thought it was nothing but stripping pits and bush parties. I remember on my graduation day there was no standing around for long after they handed me my diploma. I remember racing out of the football stadium and feeling freedom for the first time. I thought I finally made it. I moved away, but not too far away that home wasn't just a hop, skip and a jump over Mystic Mountain. When I came to college, I put myself out there. I got involved in plenty of activities and took on a few jobs to take up my time. I kept myself busy enough that I could use that as an excuse to never come home. In doing this, however, I surrounded myself with a lot of people who weren't from my area and were curious to know where I came from. It turns out that after one person catches you being from the Skook, everyone else picks up on it, too.

1. You have an accent.

Even if you think that you don't, you do. It's impossible to live in the area and not pick up on the dialect. The truth is, going down to the "s**t crick" sounds a lot better than going down to the "s**t creek".

2. You have an appreciation for high school football.

And you still have a hatred for the rival football team.

3. Your grandfather was a coal miner.

And you've heard every story about how your pap spent every day from dawn to dusk breathing in that coal dust. Gram stayed at home, cooked him dinner and raised the kids. The craziest part is somehow they survived and made a great life for themselves.

4. You say that you're "going over town" when you're leaving your house but not going far enough that it could be considered a trip.

Even though there's only technically one "town" in Pennsylvania (Bloomsburg), you still call every place that's not home a town.

5. You say that you're "going up the back" or "going up the bush" when referring to the woods.

Have you ever tried to explain a bush party to an outsider?

They have nothing to do with this guy.

6. You hung out at the Schuylkill Mall when you were a kid.

Every Friday night, when there wasn't a football game, you went to the mall to hang out with your friends (only if you were a cool kid). You spent your time in the arcade, the movies and Nirvanna's closet. It makes you sad going back there and seeing how much it's changed since then.

7. Sheetz is a regular hang out spot.

When it's two in the morning and you and your buddies have been driving around aimlessly for hours with nothing better to do, and someone gets hungry; you know where to go.

8. Olive Garden is fine dining.

You meet someone for the first time and you want to take them out on a date, and the nicest restaurant that comes to mind is Olive Garden, because you know that'll impress them.

9. Your neighbors keep farm animals, even though you live in town.

If you haven't experienced this yourself, you know someone who has.

10. You look forward to block parties.

Bleenies, babka, haluski, perogies and kielbasa. Not only do you know how to pronounce all of these things, you have eaten and enjoyed all of these things. Have fun standing in that bleenie line, though.

11. Everybody who graduate now goes to the same three colleges.

Kutztown University, Bloomsburg University and Susquehanna University–yes, I'm talking about them. We all decided that we were ready to move on and start a new chapter, so we just took all of our friends with us. There is something nice about being away at school and seeing familiar faces, though.

12. Everyone is connected somehow.

Someone gets arrested, dies or makes a name for themselves, and then all of a sudden someone you know is related to, has someone they knew who was related to, or knows someone who knew someone who was related to that person.

13. You take pride in being from the Skook.

Maybe not to the point that you get it tattooed on your body, but that feeling is still there.

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Why Getting Away From Where You Grew Up Is Important

College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.

As you get older, life sometimes makes it hard for you to take control and go to the places you've only dreamed of. There's always a work meeting, ballet recital, or something to hold you back from taking that trip planned four summers ago. College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.

It's important to get away from everything you know at one point in your life. There is a whole world full of risk, chance, and experience. The security you have in your hometown can be traded in for adventure and change. There's a time to try something new, learn something that blows your mind, or go somewhere that takes your breath away. That time is now, to feel like you are actually doing something worthwhile with your life.

It is important to get away from where you have grown up for some of your life. You need to grow on your own, without anyone there to tell you you're wrong or out of line being a certain way. The transition from high school to college is the gift of independence. You choose who you get to be without anyone holding your past against you. It's a do-over, a second chance after the mistakes and regrets you lived through in high school. Yet, being away from home has its drawbacks as you lose familiar faces, a steady schedule, and many creature comforts. But, all of these can be found in a new place with time. Leaving the place you grew up gives you another chance to grow again, without boundaries. Travel whenever you get an opportunity because it may not come again. Test your limits while living your actual dreams. Go out and explore the world—you're only here once and don't have time to take it for granted. Leaving everything you know sounds scary, but there are great memories to be made out there.

Whether this new place for you is two hours from home, or 20, it's different, it's exciting and it's change. It is important to get away from where you grew up and learn from the adventures you embark on. It is the best way to find yourself and who you want to be. It's what you'll remember when you look back on everything you've done.

Cover Image Credit: Madison Burns

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I'm A Woman With Ambition And I Couldn't Be Happier

Ambition isn't the most desired quality in females. That needs to change.


Let's face it, this day and age, females aren't supposed to be smart. Sure, if you look at the average dating profile, it'll probably say that they're looking for an intelligent woman, but nine out of ten times, they want someone smart, just not smarter than them. This makes things difficult. Even in the classroom, it's not uncommon to find men that are intimidated by women with intelligence who aren't afraid to show it. These sorts of underlying feelings are why a lot of parents don't necessarily jump at encouraging their daughters to go into competitive fields such as the sciences, law, or high-ranking positions in the business world. I'm here to tell you though that I'm pursuing a career that includes getting my MD/Ph.D. and I couldn't be happier.

I write this to encourage other women not to be afraid of their intelligence. So many times, the men in the room would like us to remain silent and let them show off their prowess. There is no reason that you can't be the smartest person in the room, and you should own it. I've personally seen the shock on the faces of others' when I talk about the research I'm doing. It's time to own your smarts and make Rosie the Riveter proud.

Now I don't want this message to sound like I think all women are living their lives just to please men. I know that they're not, but I know that some women are worried about what others will think of them which can be just as debilitating. Regardless of why I'm telling you to do it, though, I really hope that you pay attention to what I'm asking you to do, and that is to love your mind. Many times we are told to love our bodies, and that is such a great message and a really hard thing to do. Loving your mind, though, is just as important. Knowing that your mind is an amazing thing and that your thoughts and feelings are all valid is an essential tool in building yourself up. Don't let anyone tell you different.

One thing that I've gained in learning to love my mind is confidence. For a while, I was really worried about what people were going to think about me if I raised my hand in class or spoke my opinion on a matter. Pursuing something that I really love and letting myself reach my full potential, however, has given me so much confidence. Now I know that there are some women out there who just kick butt naturally and have no restraints. If that's you, you are an inspiration and I support you fully. If you're like me, however, I want to tell you to go for it with all you've got because the payoff is so worth it.

Grooming women to keep silent and not intimidate is something that our country has done for years, and we're starting to see now that there's no need for it. But we don't have to wait until our daughters reach adulthood to begin to support their voices. Parents, if your daughter wants to do something non-traditional or likes to be in charge, now is the time to support the heck out of her. If she wants to build a rocket for her school project, challenge her mind and let her explain to you what she's doing. It's time we stop hushing our daughters and pushing them into more traditional roles. If that's what they want to do, that's totally great, but now is the time to provide every opportunity under the sun so that our women can reach their full potential.

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