This past weekend, I took my almost-out-of-high-school child Out West to look at some of the colleges of my youth--places where the people who would become some of the most important people in my life got their college educations, and where I narrowly avoided getting a degree of my own.
If only I could be a student now, knowing what I know now, and not being the dumb-ass I was when I first went to college. I'm not one to regret much, but the cavalier attitude I had toward college at the time I was enrolled was certainly worth the lament I'm feeling. I'm a stupid-head. I didn't do the school justice, and my daughters are far better prepared to be successful at it than I ever was.
But, what can I say? I started a career, and that career was way more fun than school, so, what else is a 20 year old going to do? Pretty easy to figure that out.
What was somewhat striking about roaming around my former campus in particular was that while I felt a great deal of familiarity with the real estate, I didn't have a lot of "I remember whens" that went along with the campus itself. Our tour took us right past the dorm room that my (still) best friend and I shared 25 years ago, and while I remembered the number (230W Grantham Hall, MSUM), there weren't a lot of "Barb and I had such CRAZY times there" memories that popped into my head. We just...lived there. It was the place that I had to go back to after doing radio. You go from being some oddly popular person that people liked and paid attention to, to just another anonymous student, failing out of Psychology class because you're stupid enough not to get out of bed on time.
In reality, college was just a back-drop to me when I attended--at least everything after my freshman year, just when classes should have started to get interesting. It was almost a hindrance to my "other" life. Now after being out of that "other" life for ten years, I can say with some certainty that I should have paid more attention to school than to radio. Oh well. I'm not dead, yet, after all.
Now that I am smart and college makes perfect sense to me, I'd much rather being doing that than the thing I am doing right now. I guess it's what happens to you when you get beyond a part of your life where everything is handed to you (spoiled) and into the part where it's all up to you. My kids, for the most part, are already there! Incredible. I'll be sure to remind them of how awesome that it when they are groaning about repaying their student loans.