As I’ve mentioned, I’m starting graduate school in a few months. The reason why this is such a big deal for me is that I never planned on it. Actually, I was fairly adamant against it. I’ve never understood why someone would pay so much money and enter the job market even later. I would get a degree later if I needed it, but getting one right out of college seemed incredibly irresponsible to me.
It all started about a year ago. I had (still have) two favorite professors, and one of them pulled me aside to ask me to attend a study abroad over the summer. I don’t remember what it was officially supposed to be about, but it was going to involve touring England with my favorite professors. And I turned it down flat. Honestly, I didn’t even think too hard about it.
So my professors went off to the UK without me.
I had just started a new, good job, and I didn’t want to take off two months in our prime season and risk losing my new position.
I also took a huge pay cut when I took that job, so I was living hand to mouth. The thought of coming up with thousands of dollars when I was surviving on peanut butter and crackers didn’t sound so appealing to me, regardless of potential benefits.
So I went on my merry way for the summer, until it all came to a screeching halt on the first day of school – the first day of my last semester (because realizations should always come at the last second). I walked into my favorite professor’s class, and she opens by telling us about what an amazing time they had abroad. Basically, a two month long girl’s night in the UK.
With emphasis on the blow up doll. Of my two favorite professors, one studies the history of sexuality and the other studies the history of female criminality. One particular story included them running through a museum fangirling (as only history nerds can) over ancient dildos and birthing stools.
So then, I’m sitting at my desk, hearing all this like,
And then it gets worse when I start thinking about it.
Second, the school I attended throws money at students to do a study abroad. And more than that, money should never be an object for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like that. I could have made it work if I wanted to.
And finally, the main reason why I chose not to go: my job. By the end of the summer, it was clear to me that I never would have wanted the job to last anyway. I was working terrible hours in retail, and as much as I loved my boss and coworkers, that wasn’t the career I wanted. I was graduating and was going to move onto a stable job in a library somewhere. But somehow I thought working a few extra months at this job was worth giving up a summer making sexual innuendos with professors in London.
But ironically, my life was already destroyed.
I was bored with my life. Meanwhile, I watched friends of mine travel all over the world to follow their dreams.
I was living safe in every sense, and I did it by passing up all my chances to be spontaneous, reckless, or interesting. I was so determined to be responsible that I forgot that responsibility never has fun.
So do I regret not going on that study abroad?
But the good news is that it really did completely change my perspective on…well, everything. It made me come to terms with how much I really love history and what direction I really want to go in professionally. Most importantly, it taught me to appreciate opportunities when they come.
Even though this chance passed me by…
At least I know I’ll never make the same mistake again.