I went to college right after high school. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.
I remember my senior year I had a fascinating history teacher. He really engaged with us. He was unconventional. Most of us loved him. He sat on his desk one day and asked us where we were going; what we wanted in life. We all went around the room and engaged in this conversation.
I remember some of the other answers.
“I want to go to the Art Institute of Pennsylvania”
“I want to be a Marine Biologist”
My response to his question brought laughter that day.
I was honest and what I saw as success, didn’t necessarily fit with other views.
“I want to be a good mom. I want a successful marriage. I want to be happy.”
I received a recommendation from my high school principal. Many didn’t like her; although, I respected her.
I remember the day she called me into her office and we talked about what I wanted to do after high school. I told her I was thinking about elementary education. She suggested her alma mater; Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. I remember telling her I would consider it.
I only remember visiting two colleges total.
I visited SUNY Fredonia with a friend of mine. I visited Edinboro University with my Dad, Step-mom and baby sister.
I don’t remember the visit to SUNY Fredonia, but I do remember the visit to Edinboro.
It really wasn’t that far away from where I grew up; only about 2 ½ hours away. I loved that campus from the moment I got there.
I remember some guys yelling out the window as we were all walking by. I think they yelled something like, “Don’t pick this one; it’s too much fun.” I remember Dad said, “Oh, great”.
I chose Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and majored in Elementary Education. I left for Pennsylvania the fall of ’91.
I loved some of the classes. I had a psychology class. I remember the professor was lecturing about illusions.
I remember thinking he was a quack; and yet, I was intrigued. I asked a lot of questions. I debated. I engaged.
I remember another class too. I remember learning about state testing. I remember I didn’t see eye to eye with that professor or the material.
Biology was first thing in the morning. It was a double whammy!
8 a.m. AND a science class.
Science bored me to death. Science reminded me of dirty toenails and dry conversation. No sense of humor with science. I wasn’t a fan of science at 19 years of age.
I loved the dorms; although I hated how little the rooms were.
The first day I got there, I had gone door to door and suggested we all meet each other. I remember the number of girls inside that hallway increased until we were all standing in the hall talking.
I remember my first roommate. I didn’t stay in the same room with her long because I asked for a room re-assignment. It is something that has always weighed heavy on my heart.
I wish I had given her a chance.
I wish I had not been uncomfortable with people who were different from me.
This is regret.
This is an ‘I wish I would’ve done something different’.
I didn’t dwell on it, but I tried to learn from it.
Acknowledging and understanding regrets in some ways symbolizes growth to me.
It breaks cycles. It breaks patterns. It breaks statistics.
It may not be the only way, but it is one way. A lesson too many learn, too late in life. And sadly, some never learn.
I wish I had given it a chance to room with her.
I will always wonder what it would have been like.
Did we have to look the same to get along? Did we have to dress the same?
I wish I had given her a chance.
I moved in with my new roommate shortly after arriving at Edinboro. Our room was two doors down and across the hall from my old roommate.
My new roommate was a lot of fun. She knew a lot of people at Edinboro.
She wanted me to go with her to the frat parties. I went a few times. After a few visits, the ‘brothers’ asked us to be their ‘little sisters’. There were a few girls on our floor that had begun the process.
There were a lot of parties at the frat house. I wasn’t really a fan.
The initiation scared me and honestly, I wasn’t willing to get that drunk. I knew there could be consequences that I wasn’t willing to let happen to me again.
I said no. She said yes.
She got very involved with that fraternity and she was gone a lot at night. I met a quiet, funny guy from the same floor, but different wing of our dorm. I don’t remember his name, but I remember his nickname; Ski. He loved to ski.
I hung out with him a lot while I was there at Edinboro.
I remember skipping class to play Tetris with him. I loved that game and it was so much more interesting than Biology in a lecture hall with 300 kids at 8 a.m. in the morning.
At one point our relationship seemed to become semi-serious; at least to him. He spoke of the future. I broke up with him.
Friends of ours got very upset with me for breaking up with him.
Around this time, it was mid-terms of the first semester. I had missed my Biology mid-term because I over-slept the first time. I had called the professor personally and asked for a re-take. He was gracious and offered me a re-take exam. I missed that one too.
There was a lot of freedom of choice at Edinboro. I didn’t always make good choices.
After I missed my make-up exam, I started to question if I wanted to be a teacher. I started to question if I wanted to be there.
I knew I didn’t want to call my Dad and tell him. He had laughed at me when I told him I wanted to go to college the first time. Calling him and telling him would make his laughter mean something. I avoided him instead.
I called my Mom. I told her I wanted to come there for a while until I figured it out.
Honestly, I don’t remember how I got from Pennsylvania to Virginia. I think my Mom may have picked me up.
I didn’t stay at Mom’s house too long. My Dad found out before I figured it out. It didn’t go over too well. He got very angry at me.
He had called my dorm room and asked my roommate to speak to me. The first few times he called, she lied for me and told him I wasn’t available. Eventually, he figured it out.
He called Mom. He found me. I remember questioning him why he was so angry when he had laughed when I told him I wanted to go to college.
“I’m not angry that you quit college. I’m angry that you didn’t tell me yourself.”
I had called a friend of mine back home in New York. I remember she sent her brother and one of our friends to pick me up in Virginia to bring me back to New York. There was no reason to avoid New York anymore; Dad was aware that I had quit. I stopped running. I knew I could go back to New York and figure it out.
Quitting college the first time is one of my regrets.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I remember the pressure. I hated the feeling of letting people down. I remember I thought of my Principle. I never saw her again. I was sad that I had let her down; she had really believed in me.
I felt like I had let a lot of people down, but mostly myself. I needed to figure out where I was going, what I wanted and who I was.
It took me a long time to make it back to college….
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