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College 2.0: How I Almost Went Back To School

back to school dangerfield

You may have read my recent piece regarding advice that I would have given myself as a freshman. This is not a new concept. Most people have imagined what it would be like if they could go back to a certain time in their life and live things all over again, armed with the knowledge they have now. And for the most part, that’s just a fantasy to be indulged in our minds, and by quirky, mostly shitty, time travel movies. But very recently, my friends and I realized that we actually have an opportunity to do just that if we wanted to.

It all started on a hangover Sunday, as many of our far fetched ideas do. We were discussing the general fact that none of us really “figured out” college until around senior year. It wasn’t until we were nearly finished that we had perfected methods of finishing papers at just the right time, knowing which textbooks we would never need, and being able to pick and choose which, if any, homework assignments to actually complete. Not to mention that I didn’t realize I could be taking most of my classes pass/fail since I only had a couple degree-required courses left, and all electives are eligible for that glorious option. And that doesn’t even include things like talking to cops properly, chasing tail, and knowing the best hole in the wall places for killing a hangover. It was during this reminiscing that I came to a realization, which I promptly shared with the group. If we really wanted to, all of us could go back and do college all over again.

Now of course that sounds quite silly, but hear me out. We realized that the four of us were all still relatively young guys, the oldest of us being 27. Now, I have the face of someone who still has their learners’ permit, so I could easily pass as 18. One of my other friends could probably do it too. However, being 18 around all that partying sucks, so we decided we would instead fudge that we were 21 so we wouldn’t have to worry about drinking. We figured the last two guys (both brothers, by the way), would just say they had done a stint in the Army before school. Ladies would eat that up. All this sounds like too much effort right? I mean, wouldn’t we have to call Saul Goodman’s guy who specializes in changing identities for this to work? Well, if we were gonna go all out, yeah. But that’s not really necessary. Think about it. There’s no law about how many undergraduate programs you’re allowed to complete. I’m not even sure we’d have to provide our original transcript. And we’d also take the SAT again. And guess what else? Since we’re all over 24, we can apply for financial aid as independents, and since our incomes are all pitiful, we’d be getting free money left and right. So all we do is just apply as ourselves with our real identities and ages, and then just lie to any fellow student who asks how old we are. Have you ever questioned someone’s age they gave you in college? No!

The four of us all graduated a few years ago from a private university back in Texas with a tuition amount that I don’t even want to talk about right now. But now the four of us live in Los Angeles. We figure we’ll skip USC and UCLA, and opt for a medium-sized school like Cal State, LA. It’s public, and it’s cheap. So here’s how it works. We’d quit our full time jobs and apply. We would also list each of us in pairs as roommate selections. Sure, we could keep our apartment and just show up on campus when it’s convenient, but we also realized that living in a dorm, while definitely a step down, is insanely cheaper than an apartment. We’d still be living in one of the most beautiful, expensive cities in the world, and enjoying all that it has to offer, while paying pennies for living there.

So then what? What do you mean then what? Then we dominate. We enroll in the minimum number of hours necessary to live on campus. We all major in education so that a. there’s a positive girl/guy ratio in our classes and b. we never have to try (sorry, education majors). We also go to the chapter of our fraternity that we pledged back in the day (feels like decades ago), explain that we’re transfers, and boom, automatic membership. Then everything else follows, parties, girls, skipping class to go to the beach, relaxing all the time because we have no real worries. And we do it for four years. Or however long we feel like it. And if our grades are awful, who cares? Any time a future employer asks for a transcript, we just give them our “real” one. As far as everyone else is concerned, we never went to CSULA. It’ll be one of those fun little stories we tell at the bar decades later. “Did you know I actually went to college twice?”

I’m not gonna lie, we considered this plan very seriously. More seriously than I care to admit. The final consensus was that we hadn’t quite hit rock bottom in our postgrad lives, so we might as well keep pursuing the options we have in front of us. But we all agreed that if stuff doesn’t start panning out really soon, all of us are fully prepared to go back and do college again, if for no other reason than the fact that it puts off the real world just a little bit longer.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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