Do you have regrets? Tell TheGloss your regrettable story in 600-800 words and you could win these designer shades to hide your shameful, shameful face.

I try to be one of those people who lives with no regrets. However, I think that thus far my biggest and only regret is that I am 23 and still in community college, and will probably be there at least until I’m 24.

Let’s rewind a bit, though, to get a full picture. My sophomore year, around the time you start thinking about what colleges you want to apply to, there was no question for as to where I wanted to end up. I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to be a writer. The place where that was going to happen was New York. I was a young girl from LA with big dreams of New York and I was going to apply to Columbia and NYU and every other school I could think of in the general area. I was going to make it happen; I just had to tell my mom.

I sat my mom down one night after dinner (to this day, I think she was half afraid I was going to tell her I was pregnant) and laid out my plan. I was going to move to New York, go to school, and work, and learn, and work and work and work. Did I mention work? I never thought it would be easy, and I was ok with that. My mom quickly shot me down. Her plan was for me to do two years at our local community college, to mature, she said. Then, after two years, if New York was still what I really wanted, I could transfer.

I was not happy with this. At 15/16 those two years seemed insurmountable, a huge obstacle to making my dreams happen. That put me FOUR years away from where I wanted to be. I was determined, though, so I replanned and made a different proposal. I would begin Independent Study (like home school) and graduate in a year. Then take a year and a half to get my credits at CC and BOOM! Be in New York almost close to my original plan. Needless to say, I was shut down again.

In hindsight, I realize that I could have made the best of the situation by applying to local universities, or even just doing my time at CC before moving on. However, I gave up. I lost my motivation. I skated through my last two years of high school, doing the absolute bare minimum required to pass. I did not even bother with the SATs. I stopped bothering with advanced classes and extra curriculars. What was the point? You didn’t need a good GPA or anything for community college–they let just about anyone in there. It got to the point where, I, (ME, the future writer and Lit. professor) almost failed senior English. I managed to graduate, and then came my first semester at community college.

I have been in community college for 5 years. The first two years I was there, I accomplished nothing. I wasted my time and money. My third year, I completely changed direction and tried a brief stint as a nursing major but I still wasn’t committed. I ditched class to hang out with friends, dropped classes because I felt like the professors weren’t engaging enough and tried to skate through like I had in high school. It wasn’t until the middle of my fourth year when a friend called me out after failing another class.

He said, “You’re always talking about how you can get straight A’s if you wanted, if you only applied yourself. I call bullshit.”

Of course I replied with “I could if I wanted!”

”Prove it,” he challenged me. And so began the turnaround.

Now, I am faced with undoing and fixing three and a half years of fucking around and not taking school seriously. And quite frankly, it sucks. At 16, I felt like time was my biggest obstacle, but I became my biggest obstacle, and made the time even longer. Now at my age, I have friends and peers considering grad school, starting careers, getting married and basically starting “grown up life” as I had always imagined it for myself.

I suppose, to be specific, it is not going to community college that I regret the most, it’s feeling superior to the experience and not making the most of the situation. I regret standing in the way of my own dream. But, I do not despair. I will get to New York eventually. It will just be, regrettably, later than I wanted.