I have been to three different colleges. The first was after graduating high school in 2003. I was not a very good student but managed to eke by with a 2.5 GPA while doing the bare minimum and so they neglected to actually call me in for college counseling. By the time they finally did, it was far too late to correct my course and so I wasn’t given very many college options. It was pretty much community college or a university in Pennsylvania supposedly suited for students like me. I opted for that one, and so for the first time in my life, I was living on my own. The first week was fine. After getting hit by a car, I had finally gotten people to listen to me about my depression, and so I was taking a medication. While it tamped down the depression, it also tamped down everything else. When it was gone, I didn’t seek to get it refilled.

In that first week, I actually managed to socialize a little bit but my anxiety started to spike and I stopped going to most of my classes or leaving my room. People were concerned and I would try for a little while, and by the end of the semester I had a concrete plan to change everything. I would change my major from Liberal Arts to something involving computers, do a work-study, and just generally do better with things. It was not to be. There were complications with financial aid, and my parents were on the verge of divorce while my brother had an extended hospital stay due to complications from a surgery. So I went home. Sometimes I wonder if anyone I had met there wondered about where I had gone.

The second college, and the one which really should have been my first pick, was the community college. This was several years after coming home. I had been under the impression that I had to pay off my previous debt before starting a new school, which is why it took so long. I did well in the first year, doing well in the basic classes (the only credit I could really transfer was for an introductory computer class) but things fell apart once my options widened. I flailed in the harder math courses and bounced around electives, never really feeling like I fit in and not wanting to deal with actually being there. I think I was trying to do a digital video editing thing when I decided to swap once again.

The third college was Full Sail University, which you probably know from banner ads dotting the Internet. It had the benefit of being entirely online, which made any sense of not belonging irrelevant. I was made to feel guilty about attending due to an ex-girlfriend who had also applied but was rejected because she had exhausted her financial aid, but this passed eventually. I actually managed to graduate on time, with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing for Entertainment and a mountain of debt several years ago.

I tell you all of this because these were all mistakes of varying degrees. I probably didn’t need college and it hasn’t helped me one bit, but at least now I won’t have the nagging feeling that I should have finished college weighing me down. That said, I do not regret trying. I only wish that I had maybe tried harder earlier on.