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I'm Bringing Smencils Back

Benjamin Alden | Writer

Something sinister happened in the transition from high school to college. Some people called it growing up or adulthood, but I don’t know that these words alone could possibly explain the small tragedies that I now fight against. I’m talking about the losses that barely get noticed when they pass you by: shamefully buying a black backpack instead of rocking one with Mario’s face splayed across it, not reading a book series because it’s labeled youth fiction, or, and this is the worst one, switching to pencils that don’t smell like fruit. 

The shift to this gray adulthood starts in high school for most, but it’s in college where the last few stragglers of childhood are shaken off. I’m here to tell you, cling to them. My copy of Angie Sage’s “Septimus Heap” book series sat dusty on my bookshelf for far too long, I had forgotten the youth series along with my love of reading. That is until the summer of 2022, when a quarter-life identity crisis urged me to return to my childhood. I forgot that I was a reader before the world gave me deadlines and a maturing hairline.

I am proud to say that I have rediscovered my love for reading with the help of youth fiction. While I don’t think youth fiction is for everyone, I think college is the best time to reconsider some of your childhood favorites. I don’t think I’m going to return to the Mario backpack, though I may consider Heelys that accompanied it to school, and I will definitely be bringing Smencils back.


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