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It’s funny when I look back on my time in high school because when it was over, I thought that things would never be the same.
I had a world set up where I knew mostly everybody, could leave during free periods and was cruising through my senior year enjoying every moment.
I had lived in Augusta for 13 years and knew every street and what I liked and loved about the city.
But after I graduated high school, I knew that life was going to change, sooner rather than later.
I had to prepare to move from my hometown to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. My dad’s job took him up to the Volunteer state and I knew that trips back to Augusta were going to be few and far between.
I missed Augusta, but had to prepare for college, as I would start two weeks after moving to Tennessee. I tended to forget about Augusta and how much I loved it.
I got involved in a fraternity (Sigma Nu), Habitat for Humanity and learned to love everything about college, including being on my own and the freedom to sleep in and spend my time doing what interested me.
Over those four years I spent in Clinton, South Carolina, I developed the same situation that I had in high school. I had a comfort zone and grew to know a lot of people on the small campus.
In high school, I learned who I am as a person. Going in, I was shy and kept to myself. Throughout high school, I found who I am and became outgoing, feeling confident around the people that I had known for most of my life.
In college, I continued to build on that, getting an education in what it takes to be away from home and learning that if I needed something done, I was going to have to do it myself.
It turns out all of that stuff I learned over those four years helped me once I had to get a job after school. I had my high school degree and my bachelor’s degree, but now I had to learn how to apply my education as I found out quickly that I have to pay rent, utilities, student loans and other costs.
Over the past three years, I believe I’ve gotten that education, but I’ve also learned that I want more. As the sports writer, I work 50 to 55 hours a week, covering sports teams at nights and on the weekends.
I’ve learned how hard it is to come to a small county and meet people, but I’ve also come to know that the people that I have become friends with are people whose opinions and thoughts I treasure.
But I want to be able to go out and enjoy my weekends without planning around a tournament or a game. I want to be able to get home from work around 5 or 6 p.m. and relax, knowing that my work day is over.
So, after three years, I’ve decided to go back to school.
In June, I’ll be leaving Grant County to move back home to Kingston, Tennessee. I’m looking for a job right now where I can work 40 hours a week to pay for bills and save money at the same time. I’m also looking into online schools to study to get my Masters of Business Administration.
I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned during this venture into the real world. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to come to Grant County. I’ve met a lot of people who have made my job enjoyable. And to be truthful, I’ve had an awesome job.
I get to cover high school sports for a living, going to games and documenting the athletic history of this county.
But it’s hard to come from some place else and make your home here. I realized in the fall I wanted something different when I spent a Saturday at the boys and girls’ soccer tournaments, while also mixing in youth soccer pictures and a golf tournament. It was the same day as the Georgia vs. South Carolina football game and about 20 of my friends got together to watch the game and enjoy each others company.
As I got phone calls all day saying that I was missed, I knew I was still seven hours away and would work while my friends relaxed.
So I’m hoping that I will be able to enjoy those moments, but at the same time I want to say that I’ve enjoyed the moments I’ve had here. I’ll recap a lot of those memories in a final column, but this is the best way I knew to get the message out.
So thanks Grant County as I enjoy my final time here.
(Ryan Naus is the sports writer of the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)