I’ve been slowly working out the details and putting my plan into motion. Last week I requested my college transcripts and when I looked them I got sick to my stomach.
I hate the story my transcripts tell, mostly because they don’t tell the real story. Not that the real story is any better.
On the surface I look stupid.
The reality is that my transcripts reflect a lazy, unfocused student who was so insecure that she was concerned with spending more time at her boyfriend’s college than her own.
When I graduated from high school my parents didn’t want me to go away to school. They didn’t think I was focused enough so they didn’t want to waste their money on an expensive four-year university. I will never admit this to them, but they were right.
I lived at home my first two years while attending a local community college. My grades were pretty good then (still waiting on those transcripts to arrive), so my parents finally let me transfer to a four-year university. And although I was in driving distance to a few good state colleges, I wanted to move away. I told everyone that I wanted to leave the Bay Area for Orange County because it was far enough away from my parents while remaining in state. But during my freshman year I met a guy who went to USC and we started a long-distance relationship. I moved to Southern California to be closer to him—not necessarily for school.
I (stupidly) hung my future on this guy, spending every minute I could with him. Yeah, I went to class, but I did the bare minimum to get by, and I was one of those people who really had to work at it. It didn’t come easy to me. At the end of my first year away at school I received a notice that my GPA had fallen so low, I wouldn’t be allowed to attend in the fall.
The next day, I got my grades from summer session along with a notice reinstating my position at the school.
You would have thought that would have scared me straight.
You would be wrong.
I spend the remainder of my college years focused on other things. Yeah, I did party a little bit, but I spent more time chasing this guy around, putting his goals before mine. As much as I’d love to, I can’t blame him for any of that. It was all me. I thought he was more important than I was.
I did well in the classes in my major, but the rest? Couldn’t have cared any less if I tried. I had a Philosophy class one year that I showed up to exactly three times—the first day, the mid-term and the final. And I missed the actual final. I had to go back and lie to my professor, telling him I was sick the day before and begged for a makeup exam. I was at my boyfriend’s college graduation instead (his grades were stellar, by the way).
Priorities. I had none.
I graduated, but I had nothing to be proud of. I was a screw-up and I knew it.
A few years after graduation, I took some anatomy, physiology and biology classes at UCLA for my job at the time and I got all A’s. And thank God because those are the transcripts that are going to save me.
I know I can’t go back and change anything, but really, if there is anything in this life I could change, it would be that. I wish I could go back and have the college experience that I should have—one at my own school with my own friends. I wish I had gotten more involved on campus and with my classes.
I’m kicking myself. I’ve managed to have a successful career in spite of myself, but that is small consolation right now as I’m trying to transition to a new one.
I do believe that everything happens for a reason in life, but this one escapes me. Maybe it’ll make me fight harder for what I want. I know it will definitely make me work harder if I return to school. It’s possibly a wake-up call. Too bad it happened 20 years after graduation, but better late than never, right?