notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Regrets – I’ve Had A Few

It’s August, and of course we are already being inundated with back-to-school advertising.

When I was a kid, I hated seeing those ads for school clothes and  newspaper flyers for pencils and notepads. It was August. Not time to think about school. Give me another month of wonderful summer, please.

But since school seems to be starting earlier every year – semesters are starting before Labor Day now – I’ll jump on the back-to-school bus with some college advice.

What I have learned in my forty-one years since college (and yes, that means I was an undergrad until I was 24; let’s just say I changed my major a few times) is this:

Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Maybe kids don’t these days anyway. Maybe college now is all about weekends and selfie-sticks.

But I think there are probably a lot of kids out there like me.

Serious.

I studied hard. I took extra courses. I wanted that 4.0 GPA. I wanted my professors to think I was special.

Oh I’m special, all right. But I am also sure, looking back, that not one single professor remembers me.

And though I didn’t make a 4.0 GPA, I did manage a 3.8. And you know what – it still took me ONE YEAR to get a job as a clerk.

I did learn a lot in school. And I even remember quite a lot of it after more than 40 years. That’s the best thing about being a serious student. I learned shit.

However.

You know those old people who always reminisce by saying, “I have no regrets”?

No regrets?

Holy Bleeping Cow. Are you kidding me?

I have a HUUGE pile of regrets.

So for those serious-worrier kids who are already stressed about going off to college, I’d like to express a few of those regrets. For whatever it’s worth.

I regret not attending a single sports event in my multiple years in college.

I regret not going to more parties… (although I don’t regret not getting falling-down drunk).

I regret not ice-skating on the campus pond. Or even bringing my ice skates to school.

I regret not telling Stanley that I really liked him a lot. And Sean. And Steven.

I regret studying alone in my room – instead of going to the library or joining a study group.

I regret not staying up all night giggling with my roommate.

I regret not taking advantage of all the music and arts available every single week at school.

I regret not streaking across campus when that was all the rage.

I regret taking on extra-credit work when I did not need extra credit.

I regret not going to the local hotspot once in a while. I worried that it was a firetrap. And yeah, it did eventually burn down – but not for a few years.

I regret those beautiful early May days when I studied for finals, when I could have been laying out on the lawn in a bikini, still studying for finals.

So what I am saying – to Type-A teenagers, if you still exist:  Work hard, learn a lot – but also: ENJOY college. Don’t pass up your opportunities to have fun. To really FEEL like you are in college – on your own for the first time.

Oh yeah, one more:

I regret not calling my mother and my father and my sisters and my brother every single day to tell them I loved them.

uconnkids

 

21 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

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  2. Your post really resonated with me! I was definitely one of those Type A kids! Although I have become very mellow, I, too have a huge list of “I wish I had done ….”

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    • I was definitely a Type A as a kid. But somehow over the years I have truly relaxed. I may not even be a B right now…perhaps maybe a C-.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hated grammar school, mainly because I was forever being compared to my sister and found lacking. I left at 16 and went straight into work and attended night college for a short period to learn how to type. I don’t think I turned out too bad, but there was always room for improvement!

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    • I have 2 older sisters… one a genius and one with the sweetest disposition as well as true musical talent. I totally sympathize. I got lucky though – my parents moved cross town my second year of high school, and I no longer had to follow so directly in their footsteps.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Christine

    Just like you and the back to school ads, I never was able to completely look forward to my late August birthday when I was a kid. The party and presents were good — nobody had as much fun at a party as our family did — but after my birthday it was just a short countdown to the first day of school.

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    • Never thought of it that way… but I always felt a little bad for you because when you had a birthday during the school year, the class sang happy birthday, and you never got to have that moment of being the center of attention.

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  5. I’m about to go into my first year of college, and I am a student not unlike you. I’m scared I won’t make friends, but the thought has actually crossed my mind that “if I don’t have friends, I’ll have more time to study!” This is going to be a real wild ride. Thanks for sharing the advice!

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    • Mikki… looking back, I’d say it is about balance. I can see now that you can have fun AND study hard. Don’t worry about making friends – college is so diverse, there is someone there that is a good match for everyone. You’ll find your soul-mates!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is hard to go through life with no regrets, I have some, I regret not leaving home and living on my own before I met and married Tim, I regret not having a voice when my wedding was being planned and not getting the cake I would have liked. I know that they are little things and some would say the cake thing isn’t anything but if that was the case I wouldn’t be still upset over it 32 years after the fact.

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    • Sometimes the little things are important if they are symbols for something else. Lack of control. Not being heard. Those are important things.

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  7. this touched me a lot as I now sit and dwell on how the last 20 years have gone by and how I didn’t use them to the fullest. Great blog

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  8. Your friend

    You made it to a finnish newspaper
    http://www.iltasanomat.fi/viihde/art-2000001237099.html

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    • OMG! I have a novel out, and this blog and I also blog for the Huffington Post – but now I am famous in Finland for my silly (and tasteless) tweet! Hahahahahaha!

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      • Your friend

        Yes it was funny you Big celebrity superstar! 🙂

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  9. Pam

    I have always thought that people are not being truthful when they say they have no regrets. Of course I have regrets! I’ve had a few jobs that I should never have put up with, but I did. And boyfriends. I never liked the ones that liked me, but maybe I should have. I was a serious kid, too, and always studied hard to make good grades. My motivation, however, was not to get attention for being smart, but to avoid being thought of as dumb. I did not want to get extra help/attention from my teachers, being the shy kid that I was. Everyone thought I was smart, but no, it was because I was diligent and studied and they didn’t. It was work! I didn’t mind being thought of as smart, though, since my sisters were the very likable and sociable types. I had to be something, so I was the smart one in my family, and naturally on the quiet side. If I had to do it over, I would have only studied hard enough to make B’s and C’s and spent more time having fun with friends.

    As a kid, I was a worrier. I worried that my smoking parents would die of lung cancer, that we might die in a terrible car accident, and that the people I loved might die, go to hell, and burn forever and ever for all eternity in a lake of fire, thanks to my “proper” religious upbringing. Pretty heavy stuff for a child to have to bear. But I matured and made it into adulthood and no longer worry about such things. Life is pretty darn good, even with a few regrets.

    Do you really wish you had streaked across campus? LOL!

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    • I went to parochial school in the fifties. The nuns told us that the Russians were going to come and bomb us and kill all the Catholics. I was terrified every time a plane flew over. Why do people do that to kids?????

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  10. Pam

    I don’t know. But when adults told me such things, I believed them. I hope adults know better these days.

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  11. Thank you. That should be required reading for every honors student everywhere. You are completely right. Many of your regrets mirror my own. Thanks for putting words to this,

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  12. Aw. This was just a sweetheart of a post. Your list of ‘regrets’ is wonderful. I hope a bunch of young people read — and heed — them! xoxo

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