Ah, college. They were the best years of my life…so far! Even though I failed out of two colleges, I still learned my fair share of things:
1. You will learn more about yourself in the first semester than ever before
This is most true if you dorm or otherwise don’t live with your parents while college is in session.
After I had arranged my things in my dorm room at UU and my parents left, I felt as if I could breathe for the first time. You see, I feel trapped by my parents and experiencing true freedom for the first time was so wonderful that I can’t recall a happier time.
During that first semester, I hung out a lot with my friends (Mostly Eriopolis and his then-roommate Dan). I didn’t take the schoolwork seriously and as a result, was put on academic suspension.
It was a big wake-up call for me as I realized that I can’t simply plod along at college, or life, anymore. After writing several appeal letters to UU and enduring some sleepless nights, I was given a second chance to prove my academic mettle.
This time, I pulled no punches. I especially was fond of the writing class, even though it was a very basic course. I decided to write incredible material instead of just spewing out what the teacher had asked for. At the time, I believed that my writing in that class was better than anything that I’ve ever done. Looking back on it though, and I can easily see how angry and frustrated I was.
Although my grades were doing better than ever, this would not last long. About halfway into the second semester, I was given some horrible news: I would be unable to continue my education at UU unless I paid off what I owed the campus. With my high grades, surely there were scholarships out there that could help me out? The answer was yes, and no. While a scholarship could certainly alleviate the second semester’s tuition, it couldn’t deal with my first semester.
2. Don’t give in to depression
When I heard that I would be unable to attend UU until I paid off everything (technically, I could whittle it down to $1,000 or less and still be able to attend), I made my biggest mistake: I fell into a depression.
I hardly went to classes, I didn’t visit my friends as much, I didn’t do much of anything. All I seemed to do was eat, sleep, and go on the internet. Believe me, those were not fun times.
Looking back, I now see what I was building my life up to be. During that time, I was beginning to lean towards personal development in order to get myself out of my depression. I read articles online and watched videos to help me cope, but I was still depressed.
All those times of skipping class and not doing the work caught up to me. At the end of the second semester, I was put on academic suspension again until my bills were caught up and my grades improved. Needless to say, I was even more depressed.
After college, I found Steve Pavlina’s blog, which became my main source of inspiration and still is to this day. The first article of his that I read was how he makes money with his blog. I then read about how he flunked out of college and ended up in jail. As silly as it may sound, I finally felt that there was a bright future ahead of me, even though I failed out of college. Twice. I began to slowly accept my failures rather than get depressed about them. I still combat depression, but I have better weapons this time around.
3. Just because you’re out of the classroom doesn’t mean that you can’t learn anything
In fact, I’ve learned much more outside of the classroom than inside it.
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned to overcome is my fear of gay people. I know, silly right? Growing up in a small community, I was rarely exposed to them and thus, learned to fear anything that wasn’t a part of the straight white middle-class America.
In college, I became friends with Eriopolis’ roommate Dan, who was bisexual but mostly gay. He wasn’t like the stereotypes that you see on TV. He didn’t have a lisp, wear pink (that I’m aware of), or declare things as “fabulous!”. I often joked with him that he’s the straightest gay man I know, and he takes it in kind. His unapologetically blasphemous sense of humor, along with his knowledge in the occult among numerous other things made him quite the interesting character.
He reminded me a lot of how I used to be; an intense seeker of unconventional knowledge. When I started high school, I felt that I should down-play my uniqueness and just fit in. Despite my efforts, I still hung out with people who were out of the ordinary because I found them to be interesting. I guess it’s true that you can’t run away from yourself. Because wherever you go, there you are.
I miss hanging out with Dan and my other friends from college, but when your monthly income is a little over $20, it’s kind of hard to visit a campus that’s far away. This will change once I get a job and start making some money again though.
4. Watch what you eat
This may seem unimportant compared to my earlier lessons, but I learned this one just like I did everything else: the hard way.
At UU, pretty much all of their food will make you pack on the pounds. Pizza, burgers, chicken patty (oh how I miss thee!), and so on. They do have food that’s good for you, but it’s not in good condition. The lettuce was questionable, the cold cut meats tasted funny, and even the bread was sometimes moldy (no joke!).
Although it’s pretty obvious why I gained so much weight (I think it was around 20 lbs), I was still shocked. I didn’t begin to notice it until I was shaving one day and my underchin felt different. Pretty pathetic, huh?
Although I tried to lose weight in college, it wasn’t until after I left and biked like crazy that I really began to get back to normal. Today I’m 206 lbs, but I plan on getting down to 180 lbs and possibly less.
5. No matter what happens, you can always try again
When I was attending ITT Tech, I met a lot of people who were older than the typical college ages of 18-22. Some were going to ITT Tech to continue their education after they stopped for various reasons (having a baby, running out of money, failing, etc.). Some were starting college for the first time.
Although I didn’t see it at the time, I learned from them that it’s never too late to get a college education. Even if something held you back from attending at one time in your life, you should always try again if it still means something to you.
If going to college doesn’t mean anything to you, then you don’t have to attend. It bugs me to admit it, but college isn’t for everyone. However, I do encourage that you at least try it out. Go part-time if you want. Believing that college isn’t for you or that you’re not good enough for college (that one especially grinds my gears!) without attending for at least a semester is just plain silly.
The Thrilling Conclusion
So is college a waste of time and money? Definitely not!
If it has meaning to you, then it is a sound investment. In a time where everything is up in the air, the best place to invest in is yourself.
P.S: Sorry it took so bloody long to write this. My internet’s been shut off and I had some wicked writer’s block. I’ll explain about it more in my next post