“If you could do it all over again, would you?”
Different people have asked me this question at least four times in the last month, including younger friends at homecoming, who are still in school, and my little brother, who is considering which college to pick. After borrowing $100,000 dollars to purchase a piece of paper that says I studied something, I’m honestly not sure. Yes, I made awesome friends and had great times while I was in school, but college also left its mark in some not-so-glamorous ways as well. My grades never lit the world on fire, and my time commitments to athletics strained my relationships with teachers, girlfriends, and family. As a result of my degree, I now have a job which meagerly pays my bills and allows me to have a social life–but is this what I signed up for? I never use my degree, and a well-trained monkey could do my job. If a genie handed me a bottle and told me I could start over as a high school senior with the option to go to college, here are some of the decisions I would have to make again.
Would I have gone to college right away? I am still kind of a joke right now, but I was an absolute moron when I was 18. Perhaps a year of staying at home and working a part-time job would have done me a little bit of good, teaching me a microscopic amount of accountability and fiscal responsibility. Instead, I got threatened with dorm eviction within 72 hours of arriving to campus and blew all my high school graduation money on alcohol, an iPhone, and subwoofers. Lord only knows how big of a tool I was back then.
Would I even go to a university? To cut corners in my degree, I took some community college classes on the side that supplanted some of my graduation credit requirements. I was shocked at how similar everything was to my school, which was just five miles away. The classes were still boring, the parking still sucked, and the girls were still plenty hot. Not only were they twice as likely to perform fellatio on me, but the course credits were dirt cheap and the classes were exactly the same. How did I not know that? It would have been awesome to knock out all my core classes for pennies on the dollar instead of paying near-sticker price for the exact same information.
Would I have gone to a school in-state or out-of-state? I had no freaking clue how much college would cost or how my parents would pay for it (they didn’t; Sallie Mae owns me). I absolutely would have gone to the best possible public university in my state, and not even considered out-of-state options. I’m assuming this genie would let me pick where I’d live, but in no particular order, I would have loved to attend the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Colorado, Penn State, Georgia Tech, or anywhere in California. It didn’t really hit me how much student loan debt I had until I realized how little I was being paid after graduation.
Would I have played sports? Absolutely not. Unless your tuition is completely free or your games are televised on a national broadcasting station, it’s not worth it. From 5 a.m. drug tests to endless amounts of practice, workouts, and meetings, college athletics was one big hassle. I was either in class, at work, at football, or asleep, which meant I could only use my free time to party or study. With that knowledge, it should surprise no one that my grades were terrible.
Would I have gone Greek? I’m most on the fence about this one. My school didn’t have a big Greek scene, and since the athletes all partied together anyway, we became known as “frat-letes,” which I’m still pretty sure is an insult. I could pretend to be noble here, but the truth is yes, I most definitely would have joined a fraternity. I’m an extrovert and I do really well in large groups of people, especially athletic males or down-to-earth bros. Plus, I’d be a fantastic addition to almost any house’s intramural teams. My only concern is how far I’d take it.
Would I have dated the girls I dated? No fucking way. Not only did I hold on to a relationship from high school for too long, I also had a girlfriend for two of my college spring breaks. Unacceptable, and that’s probably why I still party as hard as I do. I’m not saying I pull a ton of ass, but it would have been awesome to be single for longer in school now that I have seen what a barren wasteland the dating pool is after graduation. Nobody takes road trips to beaches during March anymore. It’s depressing.
What would I have majored in? Everyone knows that computer science and engineering are the highest paying degrees, so I’ll spare whatever current rankings garbage is being displayed by U.S. News & World Report. I majored in advertising, which forces me to either be a good salesman or go to law school. I’d rather kill myself. I’m no Zuckerberg and I don’t have enough nerd in me to be an engineer. Biology. Dissecting stuff (in the appropriate academic setting) is cool. It makes you seem smart enough to impress employers, and you might be able to get through on pure memorization.
What would my first job have been? Just like before, I would have taken the first and only job offer I got from whatever biology degree-accepting company hires me. That’s easy, but I would’ve fought harder for a higher starting pay. We’re set to renegotiate in a few months, but even an extra two dollars an hour from the start would have added much more cheese to my paychecks.
So would I do it all over again? No. I’ve come too far and worked marginally hard enough to not want to go back and start over. My friends are all solid and my career prospects are seemingly positive. I’m just looking for a “dare to be great” situation to slap me in the face. Or a hot girlfriend.
I’d settle for a hot girlfriend..