September 26 11

Now that our children are older and require decidedly fewer annoying accoutrements, the husband and I have made a conscious effort to try to do more things with them. It’s much easier to navigate through all the awesome things we have at our fingertips here in Toronto without needing strollers and bottles and sippy cups and diapers and pacifiers. We can walk out of the house with nothing but the clothes on our backs and the money in our pockets. It’s pretty liberating, I must say. Last week, we got an invitation to come to our alma mater’s homecoming football game. And even though I never went to a single football game while I was actually attending said alma mater, we decided that the weather was perfect, the promise of free cookies and drinks was enticing and well, we love Friday Night Lights, so even though it wasn’t NFL football, we were game. (see what I did there?)

The game—even though the Lions lost by am embarrassingly high number, and even though Canadian football teams play with only three downs (WHY?)—was ridiculous fun. The kids got tattoos and face paint and bang sticks. We cheered, we booed. Emily finally learned the rules of football.

I wondered why I didn’t do this when I was actually, you know, in college.

But you see, college for me was kind of a strange experience.

Back before Seth and Summer competed for that one coveted spot. Back before any of the van der Woodsens even uttered the school name. Back before Norah and her playlist were accepted there. I applied early and waited and waited and waited on the Brown waiting list…but by the time I got in, Brown was so far from my mind. You see, I was off pulling a Felicity and following a boy to Canada, and not Rhode Island. But, you know, there’s really no use in even talking to a strong-willed, exceptionally stubborn 18-year-old girl. So, I didn’t have the ivy-filled, sorority-filled college experience I had dreamed about for my entire childhood. I raced through college to get to the next stage in my life; to be a wife, to be a mother, to be a writer. And don’t get me wrong, I did all of those things and I am so glad I did. My life at 33 is fabulous, even though it wasn’t necessarily where I thought I would be at 33.

So, yes. I raced through my entire post-high-school experience. I lived off campus with two girls who I didn’t really even take the time to get to know. Our apartment was cockroach-infested, so I rarely spent more time than necessary there. It was the library or the classroom, for me. I didn’t go to a single sports activity. NOT ONE. In fact, until this weekend, I could not have even told you that we were THE LIONS. My hard work paid off, as I was able to complete both my BA and my MA in four years and I graduated about 5 days before Miss Emily was born. (Bonus points for being a planner!)

But as I sat in the stands watching the herds of college girls, I had an inner twinge of regret. I’m angry for not allowing myself to enjoy this experience. I’m angry that all I did was study and work and work and study. I didn’t get enough out of it. The experience is about getting so much more than a diploma.

I want to go back. I have the diplomas. Now I want the more.

  1. Great post! You went to college, but you didn’t have the college “Experience”. Now you won’t really want it. But it’s a great dream to have. Good Luck!

    Comment by venetia flowers on September 26, 2011
  2. I totally agree with you! I did the same, although only went for my associates, I did what I was supposed to do…class, library, library, class, internships, and volunteering…but I didn’t go to any sporting events or activities! Too bad we can’t go back and tweak just a couple of things 🙂

    Comment by Courtney on September 26, 2011
  3. I worked for the athletic department so I worked every sporting event. I remember my first time back at an ASU football game, when I was a fan in the stands. It was SO MUCH FUN! Such a different experience than working in a quiet press box.

    But that was my love. I love sports, always have and always will. I personally don’t understand how my 3 sisters went to a school that didn’t have a football team. What do they do on Saturdays in the fall?

    Comment by Kristabella on September 26, 2011
  4. I LOVE sports…just wasn’t at all interested in the ones at my college. I was way way way too focused on school…and nothing else.

    Comment by ali on September 26, 2011
  5. Is that York U I see on their faces? I think that you are totally not the only one, most people that go to school in Toronto miss out on the univ experience, only the ones that live on campus really get to experience it b/c really there’s nothing else to do there 🙂

    Comment by ella on September 26, 2011
  6. Indeed it is!!!
    My husband and I both went there!

    Comment by ali on September 26, 2011
  7. and what’s fun about toronto is that you have all the cool events being held in universities so now you actually do get to revisit and do all the fun stuff…and you can afford it now 🙂

    Comment by ella on September 26, 2011
  8. Well, I’m sad for University Ali, but I’m glad you guys are enjoying it as a family now. 🙂

    Comment by Angella on September 26, 2011
  9. im sure the kids loved it. this is a great experience indeed!

    Comment by sapir on September 26, 2011
  10. I. Wait. What?

    I feel like I’m reading about my life. Except it was UCLA to follow a boy and I finished classes a semester early. Although tiny baby girl was a month early and that meant two weeks of work with a newborn, but it was fine.

    I don’t regret my choices. But it’s not like I can go back and be a carefree college student who saves money to travel instead of wedding photographers and expensive strollers. I wish I’d taken the time to enjoy it a bit more.

    Comment by Issa on September 26, 2011
  11. I followed a boy to Florida-worked my way through the local community college, then a very expensive private college, and most recently, worked my way through a Master in Ed Leadership…it took 30 years, but it’s OK. I just sent my oldest off to college where she is having the TIME OF HER LIFE! I am so happy for her-she busted her ass to get there-but she is in marching band and in a very exclusive pilot Global Citizenship program and living in the dorm and meeting new people and just doing college…the way it is supposed to be done. I am happy for here, but I wish I had done it that way, too.

    Comment by LibraryGirl62 on September 26, 2011
  12. It is indeed a great experience of yours and it seems that I enjoy a lot reading your post. Yeah! I feel like I’m reading about my life. Sounds really great!

    Comment by Lizbeth on September 26, 2011
  13. It’s great you’re able to share that experience with your family. 🙂 xo

    ps – I too have the same regrets. I was too much a bookworm back then.

    Comment by Nenette on September 26, 2011

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