Wednesday, July 8, 2009

looking back ~ PROMPTuesday/Wednesday

San Diego Momma has posed a vexing question today - If you could live one year of your life over again in the identical way, which year would it be and why? Which I have to answer in 10 minutes and fewer than 150 words; both criteria are daunting to me, who loves to make a short story long. But I digress. [sigh. See??]

My immediate thought about living one year over again was: Freshman year at Washington State University. But. Living that year in the identical way?

I went in with a 3.56 GPA from high school and slunked out with a 1.14, which seems generous considering I cannot recall a single class I attended during the last six weeks of spring semester.

I went in with a best friend since 7th grade and left with no one to cushion the blow when my parents unleashed their rage & sadness.

I went in with the least amount of experience possible with boys and came away with...more.

Particularly from my grown-up perspective, as a mother & teacher, that year seems abominable. I cringe to recall certain images of my 18-year old self during that year.

I discovered my voice that year - I discovered I had a voice, and it was loud & bawdy & confident & smarter than it let on in my small hometown.

I examined my limits - with friends, with food, with alcohol, with time, with money, with my body.

I explored - geography, music, movies, relationships, my own beliefs & desires & dreams.

I learned to like myself, love myself, rely on myself, believe in myself.

I think I am a far better woman, wife, mom & teacher than I would have been without that year.

So yes, 1986/87, bring it.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Amazing for you at 18--not what I want for my kids at 18. Why is this?!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I think these bumps in the road are what make us - or break us.

It made you strong, and empathetic and all the things we love about you.

Shotgun Prose said...

I have two essays we wrote together for an English class from the first semester, because I apparently don't throw anything away. If you would ever like to read them I can scan them for you ...

262mom said...

Just goes to prove that most of college is there for the experience and not the book learning. Well Done!

Glennis said...

I like the rhythm of this, the way its written. And it's a wonderful look back. Makes me remember mine.

San Diego Momma said...

So true that coming of's bittersweet but so necessary and you became stronger and wiser. What a great post.

Also, please let Shotgun Prose scan those essays. I must read them.

shrink on the couch said...

Smart people who get low GPA's are usually having a whole lotta fun! Really nice post. Made me think.

Shelley said...

Wow...your freshman year at WSU sounds almost identical to my freshman year at Arizona State. I had a lot of fun that year, but I'm not sure I'd want to live it over again. Along with all the fun, there are a lot of things I regret. But I suppose those experiences made me the person I am today. Interesting topic!

Gretchen said...

Do you ever wonder what made you become the freshman you that you became?

I had a similar year, my sophomore year, and I wonder what caused me to turn myself inside out, just for the sake of seeing what was on the inside. Many times I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing, but just knew that I'd never done it before so why not?

Wait, now my son's behavior is starting to seem clearer...

Anyway, I've psychoanalyzed myself to try to figure out why I did all the things I did my sophomore year of college. And now, as a mom, I am racking my brain to figure out how I can keep my kids from having a similar year.

Biscuit said...

Wow! That is an amazing perspective. I had much the same experience but, I wouldn't want to live that again - I didn't dig as deep as you. I just gained 20lbs at the end of it! I do believe that all mistakes are valuable, and that each experience offers a lesson. The reason you appreciate that year is absolutely what makes you an excellent teacher. :)

brandy101 said...

I was *just* thining today, on my road trip home from WI(3.5 hours or so...) that I wish I could sometimes *do-over* my freshman year at NU...if only to enter my dorm withOUT a spiral perm and shoes held together with duct tape!

I think it was all the 80s music I was listening to that got me thinking down that road...


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