There are occasionally times where I regret not going to college right out of high school. The idea of moving somewhere else even if it was only in a different city, being away from my family and my mom. Living with strangers. Going to classes. Working. The whole college experience. I sometimes wonder what I'd be like now had I done that instead of staying at home.
Even back then at the age of 17 I was realistic about what college would be like. I knew it wouldn't be like the movie portrayals of the crazy parties and panty raids. At least I was fairly certain real colleges weren't like that. I hoped that real colleges weren't like that. I'd never been on a college campus so I had no real concept of what college looked like or how they operated.
I worked with quite a few college students over the years, especially at the restaurant that I worked at in Colorado Springs. Since Michelle's was close to the Colorado College campus we would occasionally get students working part time summer jobs there waiting tables or slinging ice cream. It was interesting to talk to these people who were the same chronological age as me and yet we were worlds apart. In my eyes at least. A lot of the people (not all mind you but it always seemed like quite a few of them) that went to CC came from fairly well off families. Families that had money and usually didn't have to worry about how they were going to pay for things . Some of these people working next to me had never had a job and had a hard time understanding why they had to work AND go to school at the same time. It was all so unfair to them... I couldn't even begin to understand NOT working. I'd started working the month after I turned 16 and I knew that I never had a choice in the matter. I had to work. I had to pay rent at the very least and if I wanted something extra, well that was all on me too. I worked all through high school, summers you would find me working 80+ hours a week. I look back now and go "damn I worked too much" but at the time it seemed I had no choice.
Wait, what was I talking about again?
Oh yeah college.
It never even occurred to me as a teenager that it would even be possible for me to go to college, let alone an out of state college. My grades weren't great (they weren't terrible but they certainly weren't great) and I was already working 30+ hours a week (during the school year at least, summer time was a whole different story) in order to pay rent to my mom and other various bills. I convinced myself that I wasn't going because I didn't know what I wanted to do and since the financial burden would fall solely on my shoulders I didn't want to waste a lot of money going to school if I had no clue what I might want to major in.
Looking back I know what really stopped me. Fear. Plain and simple. I was afraid of trying. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of looking like a fool. These particular fears are what held me back for a very long time. They still hold me back on occasion but a lot less frequently. Now I can stop and look at why I am balking at doing something and figure out what is *really* going on and how to deal with it.
I guess the whole point of this rambling blog entry is - for those of you that actually went to college directly out of high school, especially if it was out of state, how do you think that the experience changed you? Are you still friends with the people you knew back then? What did you gain from the experience? Inquiring minds want to know.