There are a lot of things I regret — my long list of exes proves that — but no one can say that I don’t take the consequences with my actions. I have made a lot of difficult choices over the years, some good, some bad, but all necessary. I chose to drop out of college and take some time off. I chose not to return for an extended period. I made those decisions knowing that I was altering my life in a way that could not be undone. I never once regretted it.
Someone recently asked me what my life would be like if I had chosen to stay in school and not leave. Different would be a major understatement. When I was 18, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I always loved animals and that was all I talked about as long as I can remember. I never wanted to be anything else. Through all of high school, that was my ultimate goal.
I ignored everything that was in front of me that said I was going in the wrong direction. I was distracted and did not put in the effort I knew I needed to. But I kept on. I graduated high school and went on to college. I even planned on majoring in animal science.
It only took one semester and an introduction to animal science class for me to realize that my heart was not in it. I was miserable. This was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was so focused on being a vet that I never considered other options. I did not know what my other interests were.
I have mentioned my journey to Tufts in other columns, but I always leave one thing out. What if I had stayed in college? Where would I be? I would not be at Tufts, for one thing. I would not be writing this column. I probably would not be writing at all. I would probably be a miserable animal science major who loves animals and hates his job. Maybe.
I will never know what would have happened. Maybe I would have been successful. Maybe I would have loved my life. Maybe I would be wondering, “What if I had dropped out of school?”
But I do not ever regret my decision to leave school. Not once. I may have made things harder for myself in the long run, but I love where I am now. I love that I am writing this column. I love that I am at Tufts. Would I suggest that other people take time off from school? That is a question I can’t answer.
Each R.E.A.L. student made a difficult choice to leave school and an even more difficult one to return. I would not wish that struggle on anyone, but for those who choose this path, we are stronger for it. For me, I will be able to say I have no regrets about my decision in the future, and I’m sure that many R.E.A.L. students will say the same.