#31 Mix Tape by Brand New
I love this song a lot, and I already know that one of my biggest regrets of this countdown is that it wasn’t able to make it into the top 30. I know it seems like a simple solution, just place another song in this spot and then save this one for the next spot, but I can’t do that. I’d just have the same regrets for that song then. There are some regrets you just can’t avoid. I’m not sure that’s a great life lesson, but it does deserve some further delving into.
It’s definitely true that people can see regrets coming. I regret dropping out of community college (although dropping out due to failing) rather than sticking it out a little longer and possibly dropping out once I made it to a University. This sounds confusing, because why would I care when I drop out, whether it be in community college or a university?
This may sound like a joke, but there’s something I like about being a college dropout (if there are any kids reading this that was a complete joke and being a college dropout sucks and you should totally aim to graduate from college…but only in a field of your liking). But there’s also something I really hate about having to clarify that I’m not necessarily a college dropout, but rather a community college dropout. There is a difference.
I’m not saying people who go to a community college are lesser than people at universities in any way…other than every way. I’m kidding. In my community college experience I’ve had multiple teachers who also taught at universities, not just in the past and they were somehow demoted to community colleges, but they were currently teaching at both a community college and a university. In general I would probably assume that you’ll get better teachers going to a university, but I don’t think it’s as big of a gap as most people would assume. Also in community college you have smaller class sizes, so a student actually gets more one on one time with a teacher, should they choose to pursue it. There’s no other point to this paragraph other than to say that from what I’ve gathered, when taking basic classes there isn’t a huge downgrade from a university to a community college, so anybody in a community college, or who is going to attend a community college, don’t feel ashamed about it, or like you’re getting gypped – I had originally spelled that “jipped”, product of my community college education – out of an education. I can feel bad about being a community college student because I love to self deprecate. Ironically it’s one of the only qualities I enjoy about myself.
Here’s the thing though, anybody can go to a community college as long as they have at least a GED, possibly even just a scratch piece of paper confirming that the possible student can spell his or her own name right. Then you just gotta pay the money, because let’s be honest that’s what most of this is about. The staff doesn’t work for free, the teachers don’t work for free, although the good ones definitely go much further than their pay-grade would suggest and a lot further than many students will ever appreciate, and sure the government puts some of the money they don’t pocket into the school system, but at the college level it’s mostly about whether you can pay to go or not. And finally getting to the difference of community college and universities, virtually anyone can pay to go to a community college, but you have to be accepted in order to receive the honor of paying to go to a university.
So essentially my beef with dropping out of a community college is that anyone can do it. There’s nothing special about dropping out of a community college. I would bet millions of people do it every year, and I’m not kidding when I say that. But universities, well I would still probably bet that at least a million people drop out of universities each year, but I still think it pales in comparison to the number of people dropping out of community colleges. Sure, I guess I can brag that I was even too lazy to complete community college, but it still doesn’t say much about me. I want to be able to say that I was good enough for a university but just didn’t give a damn.
How this ties into regrets I forget, but it might have had to do with me regretting dropping out of community college, but at the same time not really regretting it that much because at the time I did it I knew I wasn’t into it and at some point I would eventually fail out of it because I had no passion. I regret not having passion, and I regret dropping out (failing out) we get it, I failed, still technically dropping out (yeah, except not really) but the point is that I feel it’s a regret I couldn’t avoid. For the reason already mentioned that I felt it was going to happen at some point, but also because all the while regretting it I would be on the path towards something new, something that would perhaps someday help ease the regret, or completely dissolve it.
Today I saw my friend Alex Nguyen graduate from college with honors after five years of hard work, and it got me thinking a lot. There were of course constant regrets because I knew that would never be me, mostly because he’s Asian and I’m not, but other reasons too. But I liked the feeling of regret. It made me want to overcome my odds. The odds of being a college (of the community persuasion) dropout. If I become nothing I’ll have to live with the horrible choice of not finishing college. But if I make something of myself in the field which I love I’ll be redeemed of my horrible choices, both in past and future (there’s going to be future horrible choices?) I’m a 23 year old community college dropout, I’d just be naïve to think I don’t have many more horrible choices in my life.
Regrets are kind of like failures, in that what was wanted to be accomplished was not accomplished, and many times not even attempted. And just like the guy who gave the commencement speech at my friend’s graduation – who said he was going to be brief but went on for 20 minutes about “class starting now” and having a beard but then having to shave it and then who knows what – many people say they learn more from their failures than their successes. I wouldn’t necessarily know much about that because I take to failures the same way I take to my Saturday nights – jerking off and then crying my eyes out into a pillow made of pictures of her…that’s a joke people…What? I didn’t say it was a good one – and I have very few successes, so I don’t really know the feeling of success. I imagine it’s the same as failure but with tears of joy. Either way as a person who fails a lot more than I succeed I like the idea of getting more out of failures and learning from that.
Another regret I have is not immediately saying after whichever was the first teacher to tell me you learn more from failures than success, “Then why do you keep punishing me for getting F’s? I’m just trying to set myself up to learn as much as possible.”