Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If I Could Do College Again.....

I try not to have too many regrets in my life. Still, if I had the opportunity to go back and do some things differently, and have (at least some of) the knowledge I have now, I might make different choices. Not necessarily wiser ones, mind you, but different.

I had just turned 17 in April when I graduated from high school. I felt compelled to go straight into college during summer quarter, which started just 10 days after my high school graduation. I'm not sure I would do that differently, because summer quarter was more relaxed and classes were smaller than the rest of the year. It gave me a chance to ease into college life without all of the 24,000 other students there. I became familiar with the bus system, and because it was summer quarter, there weren't many people watching when I sat for about 30 minutes at a bus stop waiting for a North-South bus. That particular bus stop was only for East-West buses. I can only imagine what the folks on those East-West buses thought when they kept pulling up to the stop and I kept not getting on the bus.

I don't think I would have gone EVERY summer, though, as I did. I finally took one quarter off, a winter quarter, after a painful break-up, but I went to school every summer. We had about a month off between the end of summer quarter and the beginning of fall, but I never took a summer off. It would have made a lot more sense financially, too. I was drawing social security after the death of my step-father, and they would keep paying me until age 22 (I think) or until I received my first degree (which I did at 20). My mother couldn't understand why I was in such a hurry. Looking back now, neither do I.

I THINK I would choose to live in a dormitory and experience more of college life, but I can't be sure about that one. I lived at home and commuted the 10 miles or so to school, so that meant I didn't meet as many people as I would have if I had lived on campus. I made a few friends, but none of those friendships turned into the lifelong relationships a lot of people have from college.

If I could go back and do it again, I would get into cycling while I was still in college and not wait until I was 31. That might also have led to my quitting smoking a lot sooner. It would have also saved me the $98 in parking tickets I had to pay my last quarter before they would let me have my diploma.

I would try harder to appreciate the learning process instead of going through the motions from quarter to quarter, collecting my credits and jumping through the hoops but never sure exactly what I was learning. I would take more classes I was truly interested in and not schedule them just because they fit my schedule. Believe it or not, I preferred 7:50 AM classes. I wanted to be finished by noon so I could work in the afternoons. My brain doesn't learn very well after lunch.

I would know myself better than to think I should even imagine traveling the road through a pre-med program and medical school. I would have chosen something like literature from the beginning, or perhaps physical fitness. Or Women's Studies. Or French. Or math. Or a double or triple major in some combination of all of them. Maybe I could have just gotten a degree in going to college.

I won't even talk about my social life or studying or bad relationships. I think those are all part of the college experience. Or maybe I just don't want to talk about them.


Kelly said...

Yes, it was age 22 or until you were no longer in school. Both my parents were dead and I was drawing on SS for that. I milked it for all it was worth!

Phoenix said...

If I had to do it all over again, I would have went straight out of high school and not waited 6 years.

I would have pursued what I originally wanted and not settled for what was suggested for me.