the 30 & over project: reflections on college life

As I prepare to embark upon my 40th birthday in March, I’m drawn back to a blog post that I created in April 2012.  You may or may not have 0071-0804-0812-1706_TNseen it before, and I may or may not have posted it on Bronze Magazine, but I wanted to revisit it as a reminder of how far I’ve come, from my years as a young, inexperienced, idealized college student,  to a woman who, hopefully is more mature; but  still l have a ways to go in fulfilling my dreams. I believe that I will do a much better job at staying focused on my goals as I prayerfully, cross over into the next decade of my life. 

What if I Could Do It All Over Again?

If you are anything like me, you probably had a blast and the best time of your life in college. You probably also have a few moments that are frozen in time because, unfortunately, you probably don’t remember some of them.

Well, fast forward to 2013. You are in your 30’s, a grown up (which for me is sometimes questionable), you might have a family, a spouse (or still fabulous and single), you hopefully have a good job, and so on.  But what if you had the opportunity to go back to do, what some of us like to call, “undergrad” all over again, and redeux (in my best French), some moments, a couple semesters, the freshman year, or the last two years of college — all over again?  What would you do? And Why?

I know for a fact, I would redo quite a bit of my college years, probably the last three.  I did end up with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and while I’m very happy to have a degree and that my parents were able to pay for my education, in hindsight, I certainly would have focused a little more and taken more time to explore another major and perhaps I would have gotten involved in some other extracurricular activities and experiences that would have landed me in a career more immediately, rather than taking all of this time  “finding myself”, years later.  And I definitely would have been a little more picky about some of the guys I dated (although some of them were fun at the time – but definitely not husband material — but that’s a different blog post, I digress….)

But, with all of the time I did spend in college, can you believe that I’m not a journalist (with all of the blogging and commentary that I do)? Well, I was a J-school major at one point in college but I also dabbled in political science, paralegal studies, and public relations. But I just knew I wanted to become the female Johnnie Cochran and I thought the only way to do that would be to get a degree in Criminal Justice. Well, let me tell you, I’ve never worked a day of my life  in CJST (with the exception of that one semester I an internship at a halfway house) and my one-month training stint as a social worker right after graduation (do you see a pattern here? — I was somewhat of a wandering fool).  Now, at 39, after a one-year service learning experience as an Americorps VISTA and about 15 years working in Higher Education, touching the lives of the many students I have mentored, supervised, and advised over the years, a career I wouldn’t give up for the world, I realize that one of the reasons I kind of ended up in my current career is because I kind of had no clue what I wanted to be “when I grew up”.

Nowadays, students have so many darn options for majors and careers, it’s ridiculous, and classes and courses to back it up.  And they have so many internship, externship, and service learning experiences that if these kids even think about graduating from college without knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives, then some of them probably need to sit out for a semester and think about it. And with the cost of tuition today, that might not be such a bad idea, especially considering all of the other millions of educational options students have with technical, vocational, and online schools. There shouldn’t be any high school senior without at least a small idea of what they want to do upon graduation, they have so much to explore.

Bottom line, if I had it to do again, I may have chosen to go into teaching and definitely would have honed in on my writing career a little earlier.  I’ve always been a poet, in fact, I won a Young Author’s Conference contest in junior high school, and today, I think I’m living a belated dream of being a writer through blogging and self publishing.  So, I guess, really, everything does happen for a reason and we live the life we are supposed to, and live it well I hope.

But, I do want to pose the question anyway…….

If you could re-do any part of your “undergrad” years, what would it be and why? I’m curious.

Thank you for reading The 30 & Over project!

follow me on twitter: @ivywriter

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