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Life Lessons From Melissa: Going against the grain can pay off in future

Throughout my time at The Post, I have been called many unflattering things: stereotypical, crazy, classist (ouch), and disappointing just to name a few. Well, being that most of these insults came from emails and letters early in my columnist career, I was admittedly discouraged.

I went through several stages that mostly consisted of indignation and (generally) silent self-pity before I realized that not everyone is going to like you — and (light bulb) that’s a good thing.

No one who’s anyone got to the top by just waiting for something to happen, and by tried-and-true methodology, I know that the best motivator is the prospect of proving a naysayer wrong. That is not to say that some of the opinions held about me aren’t true. I am at least bordering on crazy and stereotypes are subjective, so I am sure I represent at least one stereotype in some way because I’m sure the person who made that comment does as well.

Those revelations came as an invigorating slap-in-the-face while recently talking to some members of local band The Grove.

At 13 years old, lead vocals and guitarist Adam Forsthoefel decided to teach himself to play guitar. Since then, he has played the national anthem for the Cincinnati Reds; formed several bands; and played countless shows in bars, restaurants and houses alone and alongside fellow band members Chris Brokamp, Jeff Voegele and Adam Dettmer.

So what makes The Grove different from just another small-town cover band? Well, it isn’t just a cover band. With many original songs already recorded, The Grove has aspirations to expand that number in the upcoming months.

“Our main goal now is to get a record out by next summer,” Voegele said. “We have dates set up to record over winter break.”

Impressed by the band members’ obvious dedication, I probed more into their desired goals. They’re seemingly expecting something huge out of all this work, right?

Forshtoefel shrugged and said, “It would be awesome to make it big. I would love to make a living off of this, but I do it for fun. If I get nothing out of it, I won’t regret it. I will always have those tracks, those memories — it’s worth it.”

However, he expressed confidence that the band’s perseverance will pay off.

“I play pretty much any show offered to me; I don’t turn down opportunities. I think it’s gonna pay off one day”

The unbridled, pure optimism of The Grove sheds a new light on the hope I have for my own passion: writing.

I do it because I love it.

Not everyone will like what I say, or even read it, but if I continue to take the opportunities offered to me — such as this one — it will pay off. I have learned that one sincere compliment outdoes a dozen insults (so thanks to the readers who gave me positive feedback) and that insults are often constructive (so thanks to those who gave me negative feedback).

We should all take a lesson from The Grove: Perseverance is key. The band’s music is available for free downloads at, and it will play at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Smiling Skull Saloon. Come watch The Grove’s hard work pay off in person.

Melissa Knueven is a junior studying communication and a columnist for The Post. Going to the show? Email her at

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