College bored me to tears. Had I majored in something interesting, things might have been different. Much of my teaching coursework was sycophantically dull, like knowing but being unable to admit out loud that PD James uses too many adverbs and all the emotions in her stories are clothed in cliche. Or it's like reading a book when you'd rather be writing. It's a necessary suck-up, but inside you're crying out to do something, anything. Then you try to copy the master and find out just how damn hard it all is.
Some of my great, person-shaping experiences came from college, if I had only known it at the time. I spent my freshman year picking up and fucking as many attractive patrons of my favorite bars as I could. Not girls. I was past that by then. But the guys... squared off chests and jaws, low cut jeans, regrettable haircuts (business in the front, party in the back).
Met the husband there, yada yada. We made some mistakes together, bad ones. At least we made them together.
Came away with one good friend. One. I went to a college with 30,000 people and I made one friend. I suppose that's odds on for me though. What can I say? I'm a loner.
At the time I thought it was the best time of my life. At the time it was. But I didn't know anything then. I feel sorry for people who think that, especially people who are my age. I'm sad for them. How can living life with your love and your kids compare unfavorably to the scattered freedoms of college?
Truth? College also terrified me, but for all the wrong reasons. I was never cut out to be a teacher. I wanted to hide behind the books as long as I could. I put myself out there with my art, but it doesn't count because I when I got criticism it stopped me from making more art. Art is too close; those paints may as well be blood for what they cost you. No thanks to KU, but not its fault, either, I learned when you put yourself out there and get shot in the foot, you keep limping. Ten million steps to get where you want to be. Wish I would have learned that in college. Now, that would have been worth the money.
At least I learned it now, albeit two decades later. Writing is the first thing I've ever done where I truly want to put myself out there. Come and get me. Rip me up. I'll stand up to it. I'll even come back for more.