Even though I don't have summers off these days, I still get that back-to-school feeling. I want new shoes, bought by my mom, and a chance to scope out my locker-mates while wearing my best new outfit.
Living as a non-degreed person in an overeducated city sucks. That's the sum of what I've learned in the past 7 years. Since I left GW, I haven't really done anything. Worked in a bar. Had some crappy office jobs. Read a lot of books, but not the kind anyone cares about. Ruined my credit.
I've been trying, really I have, to go back to school. I've downloaded applications and talked to admissions officers. My therapist says it's the one thing that I absolutely have to do, and I know she's right. But I'm just...stuck. I can't commit to the terrible public university here; I'm afraid I'd just seethe with resentment the whole time. After I and my family spent all of that money at GW, to graduate from a school that's not even mediocre, but actually crappy just seems like an unacceptable compromise. I've started the application three times, but I just end up crying.
What I should have done was move back to Ohio and finish at OSU while I still had residency. But I just couldn't face it. It's only in the last two years that I've been able to shed the idea that I could be trapped at home at any time, as if staying longer than a week would cause DC to evaporate. Now I know I'm not ever going home, and that knowledge carries its own sadness.
But school. I'd be the best student ever if I could go back. I'd even cover my textbooks with brown paper grocery sacks from Trader Joe's. I have a planner now, and I'm not afraid to use it. I would use my highlighters judiciously, but with aplomb. I would be the teacher's pet, even going so far as to sleep with a professor or two if the occasion called for it. Two birds and all that.
I know I overreached when I started at GW. My high school was the furthest thing from academically rigorous, and I sold my parents early on the idea that if they knew I was smart, and my teachers knew, and I knew, then good grades were pretty worthless. I'd never heard of the PSAT, and didn't register to take it. It's only by chance that it was given to everyone in my English class. If that hadn't happened I would have already graduated from some nice state college by now. At the time, of course, I thought my scores were my ticket. I thought I knew my destination, but I was wrong. Who knows anything at eighteen? I picked my college because they sent the most impressive swag. I only applied to two schools.
And the worst part is this: college was everything I'd ever dreamt it would be (only much harder academically). My freshman year was the best year of my life, right up until spring break when my parents told me the wouldn't pay for another year. I know that's hardly the type of tragedy that TV movies are based upon, and that crying about it ten years later is a little...disproportionate. I spent a miserable year in Ohio, attending school and scheming my way back, only to get here and be even more miserable. I dropped out a month before my classmates graduated.
Looking back, I think I was depressed. At the time I just felt overwhelmed and impoverished and incapable. I was tired of having my phone shut off and not being able to afford ice cream. I was so tired. I was certainly stupid. The girl I was then better hope she never meets the girl I am now in a dark alley. I can't really talk about that time in my life, when everything was ruined and I was the only one responsible, and I've never tried to write about it before. That decision is like a brick wall that I beat my head against every day. I can't see over it, under it, or around it. I thought for sure that thirty would be on the other side.
I'm turning the comments off for this entry. Most of you already know the general outlines of this story anyway, and if you had any life-altering advice I'm sure you'd have given it by now. I'm just making a renewed effort to do something about this and thought laying it all out might help, though I continue to wish fervently for Plan A (inherit a lot of money without anyone having to die). Maybe this will be my year.