College: Day 14

14 Nov

Daily Prompt: Revisionist History

by michelle w. on November 14, 2012

Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you.

Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?

I need to tell you, I was a total geek growing up.

One prime example: when I was nine, I tried to teach myself German from my dad’s old college textbook.  I spent hours copying text examples and conjugating verbs in a green notebook I cleverly deemed, “My German Textbook’s Notebook.”

When I think back on it now, I was pretty stinking good.  Though I probably didn’t pronounce things the right way, I did successfully teach myself most of the numbers, the alphabet, basic greetings, a few naughty words that the book included which I found hilarious, and a few other random useful phrases.

To say the least, I loved book learning.  And I still do.  I would choose working individually, reading 50 pages and filling out essay and workbook questions ANY DAY over having to work on a partner assignment and create some “fun” presentation. Woof. And, I am probably the one person for whom rote memorization is the best possible learning strategy.  I could copy and repeat assignments until the cows come home.

As a child, going to college wasn’t just something that was encouraged and admired in my family, it was personally a deep, passionate demand.  I needed to go to college.  I had dreams of sitting with my little glasses and a big suitcase, arguing in a huge lecture halls and getting coffee with others and filling dozens of notebooks with brilliance.

My poor innocence.  I shudder to think what might have happened if I told her about this, which essentially represents most of my college experience:


And, that’s just a PG picture I felt comfortable sharing.

Sure, we often did some… hanging around… but I also studied my ass off.  I may not have carried around a gigantic briefcase full of questions about the universe (which was probably for the best), but I engaged myself in outrageously stimulating dialogues, discovered more about my place in this world, and developed a structured intellect that has pushed me further than I ever thought possible.

Now I just sound like a terrible television ad promoting my alma mater.

And, I guess, in a sense, I am.

While I think I’ve touched on my slightly pretentious views on regret and my attempts to avoid it at all costs, one thing I do return to with relative frequency is my choice of school.

When I was 14 my brother and I went with our parents on a trip out to the Washington, D.C. area.  You could have made a National Lampoons vacation out of the trip.  I mean, there were not nearly as many crazy uncles nor hostage situations, but we visited every landmark, museum, park, and mini-adventure locale possible. One afternoon, we visited the University of Virginia and strolled around the surrounding campus.

I was in love.

It seemed to me like all my childhood visions of “college” captured and put into one perfect little universe.  I saw real life college kids walking around with books in their hands, and laying out on a campus mall, and big, old buildings that I imagined were bursting with histories and answers.

From then on, whenever I thought of going off to college, I always imagined myself heading to Virginia and becoming just like those students.

And when it came time to apply to universities, I was ready.  I have always done really well in school and high school was no exception.  I by no means wish to brag about having any sort of better smarts than others.  But I loved doing assignments, and keeping track of them in planners, and getting help on nearly every math sheet ever assigned and talking with others, and checking things off “to do” lists, and buying new school folders and notebooks and typing up papers and… you get the picture.

I always worked my butt off – and I was never really embarrassed about it, which I’m always secretly impressed by.

I looked at a lot of different schools, Virginia included.  Seventeen year old Liv knew a bit more about student loans than the doe-eyed visitor to D.C., and only a little way in to the application process, I just sort of gave up.

What would life have been like had I not been so afraid of that gigantic world?  I am really proud of UW – Eau Claire (go Blugolds!), though I can’t help but wonder.

But, when I start imagining how different life would have been like, I never get much further than imagining my first semester or so.  And, here’s where it gets a bit sappy, I just can’t imagine life without my dear partner.  I really doubt we would ever have crossed paths.  I mean, sure, there’s destiny, but he was such a part of my college life (along with the Cameo, Mad Dog, my closest friends, and FAFSA), I just can’t imagine –  nor would want to imagine -my undergraduate experience any other way.

I mean, how can you compete with Wisconsin?


One Response to “College: Day 14”

  1. Tim Krueger November 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm #


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