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Laura Ruffner: Looking back

My first college experience was exactly what everyone expected it to be. I was barely eighteen, had virtually no responsibilities, and got thrown into a dorm with someone who turned out to be an amazing friend. I had done well enough on my SATs to get plenty of scholarships and had earned myself a free ride. The problem? It was exactly as everyone expected it to be, it was what everyone expected from me but nothing that I actually wanted.

I had packed up a small bag of things for the move. I had a pillow, a bottom sheet, and enough clothing to fill one drawer. I had no plans to stay, after all I had not even filled out my own college application.

Two whirlwind semesters went by I had plenty of really great friends, some amazing memories, an awesome boyfriend and grades that were lower than I considered my best, but I was just a freshman.. Everyone needs some time to settle in right?

I never went back. I told people and myself that life got in the way and although I’m not sure that that is entirely true I did end up having a son, getting married and having yet another son and then a daughter – all with that awesome boyfriend I met freshman year.

Seven years passed and I decided maybe it was time to try again. This time nothing was what everyone expected, I was not longer a child, had piles of responsibilities. I no longer had dorm life to look forward to, but four rather needy, but wonderful roommates. I can’t say that life was quieter or less wild than the dorm but rather just different. I had gotten a few scholarships but this time my education would not be free.

There are still sporting events and various clubs and meeting, this time I required to go – someone has to drive.

There is still crazy indoor wrestling, occasional furniture abuse, and people passing out in random places- however these people must be carried to bed.

Yes things sure are different. They are wonderful. Suddenly the one with the expectations is me. I have had time, I know who I am and I know what I want. I am the one pressuring myself. And even with less time I have managed to not only surpass everyone’s expectations but most importantly my own. I have gotten grades I couldn’t imagine possible, after all I had heard how hard it was to go back to school as an adult. I had been able to take part in the honors program and to be on the student association. And what made school different this time? Well it wasn’t easier, and I certainly didn’t have more time. This time it was exactly what I wanted.

Sometimes the easiest things in life aren’t the best things, and sometimes the best things in life aren’t the easiest.