In the What If Wednesday series, we transport to a hypothetical alternate-reality and watch life play out. And we do it on Wednesday, because alliteration.
You’re sound asleep, dreaming. It’s a good dream. You’re young again, living up the summer after high school graduation. Your favorite song by [band that you secretly liked but always scoffed at around friends because, duh, you were too cool to listen to Avril Lavigne] is playing. But there’s a bright light hitting your eye lids, slowly pulling you to a state of consciousness. And suddenly, you’re awake. You scramble out of bed. What time is it? Why didn’t your alarm go off? Why isn’t your annoying cat licking your feet until you feed her? And then you look around. Your surroundings are familiar, but not what they should be. You lift your head and look into the full-length mirror on the back of your bedroom door. You’re younger, perhaps skinnier, less wrinkled, and more pimply. You see a cap and gown draped over your desk chair. And then you know: you’re 18 again and you just graduated from high school.
All right. So you’re 18. You’re 18! But not really. You’re actually 25, or 30, … 45, 50, 65. But you’re back in your 18-year-old body. So now what?
Here’s your big chance at a do-over. Would you go straight to college? Would you study something different? Would you take out student loans? Would you muster up the courage to ask that one guy/girl out? How would you handle life differently, or would you change nothing?
Our 18-year-old college selves
Well, I’d be about 1000x less naive as far as money is concerned. I’d get a real job the summer before college, not a job babysitting my neighbor’s kids and making roughly $4/hour — it was easy, and I wasn’t ambitious. I’d go to the same university, keep the same major and minor, but work harder at getting good grades. I started with a scholarship and lost it after my first year. I’d still probably need to take out loans, but I’d be more aware of my spending. And hopefully my half-tuition scholarship would become a full scholarship after ending my freshman year with a 4.0 GPA. As far as my life choices, I don’t think there’d be any boys turning my head since I’d know about a very particular guy I’d meet my sophomore year. Oh, and I’d invest in an up-and-reviving stock that went by AAPL.
The first thing I’d do is start listening to all of today’s more popular indie bands as they’re just starting out. That way I could tell everyone I know about how I was listening to Bon Iver or Arcade Fire or whoever before they were cool. Because who doesn’t like that guy?… Kidding. Like Joanna, I’d go to the same school, but I think I’d choose a Business or Finance major. Not because I don’t enjoy my current career, but because my current career requires absolutely no education as it’s based entirely on the contents of a portfolio. I wouldn’t quit my job at Jamba Juice halfway through winter semester because waking up BY NOON (!) wouldn’t be as difficult anymore. I would take none of my college shenanigans/pranks back EXCEPT for the time I inadvertently flooded the entire 2100 wing of our dorm and made the soggy carpets smell like rotting goat’s milk the rest of the semester. Sorry dudes.
If you decided to make different choices, is there anything you can do about those choices now? What’s holding you back from changing your career, getting more schooling, etc.?