New Chapters, Old Regrets
(orig. publ. 6/15/19)
So, this week we took our daughter to the freshmen "Preview" at her university. To me, this was basically an opportunity for the school to acclimate the parents to being separated from their kids, and for the kids to explore campus, meet with their academic advisors, and register for classes. The university staff (and the student guides) did a decent job of keeping the parents occupied as they sent the kids off to start their new chapters as little grownups, without their parents hovering over their activities and decision-making.
Just as it did when getting our son enrolled in college four years prior, the college selection and enrollment process brought on some strong feelings: some regret, but mostly a wistfulness and longing to also be able to enroll in college and finish a bachelor's degree in something. Anything. The regret is simply because I dropped out of college after 2 years, when I was 19. I had a really good first year, followed by a really bad sophomore year. Let's just suffice it to say that, then, I had a poor self esteem and did not at the time realize that I was dealing with major depressive disorder. I probably wasn't a pleasant person to be with and that deeply and negatively affected friendships. I failed College Algebra, despite my professor tutoring me before and after quizzes (sorry, Ernie), and although I quit going to biology class, except for labs and test days, I managed to pass with a "D" grade in that class.
One of the good things about getting older is having the ability to adjust to changing circumstances, and having the wisdom and flexibility to modify one's dreams. I wanted to - and should have - graduated with an art degree. Instead, I am OK with not earning a bachelor's degree, and I am very satisfied that my son has done that and that my daughter will. My dreams have shifted, and I am pretty content, for the most part. While thinking about my college sophomore year does make me sad, I'm glad for where I am now. In my 30's, I enrolled in my local community college to at least finish an associate's degree, and then started a very interesting and enjoyable career as a paralegal a few years later. I am arting, again, and am glad to be getting back into the swing of things. And, yes, I made "art" into a verb, right there. :-)