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Scarvey column: Next time, I’ll sit up front

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
My 25th college reunion is coming up, prompting me to muse a bit about those four years.
How many of us who went to college would take a different approach if we got another shot at it? Raise your hands.
Ah yes, I thought so.
With my older daughter in college, I find myself hoping that she wrings every bit she can out of the coming years ó which would mean doing some things differently than I did.
Itís not that Iíd switch the English major for one in genetics ó although Iíd keep an open mind about that.
If I could do it over again, knowing what I know now, the biggest difference would be that Iíd be more comfortable in my own skin, more willing to take risks (the good kind, that is), not as apt to trudge behind the herd quite so predictably.
This time, I would actually do all of the assigned reading ahead of time.
Iíd walk into my classrooms and pick a seat right up front. Iíd be the one nodding soberly during particularly salient points, the one smiling when humor was injected into the proceedings. Not in a slobbering, Eddie Haskell way, though. In a smart, funny, down-to-earth Tina Fey way.
I would take my professors off the pedestals I had them on before and start viewing them as people. Iíd actually go and see them during their office hours, fully believing that theyíd appreciate my youthful initiative and be thrilled to see me.
iThatís the prepared young woman who sits on the front row and gets my jokes!î theyíd say, jotting a smiley face beside my name in their gradebooks.
I would still go to the basketball games and the Stray Cats and Pat Benatar concerts (or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Kings of Leon, as the case may be). But Iíd also take advantage of every appearance by a Pulitzer prize winner, ex-secretary of state or Proust scholar. Even if I hadnít ever read Proust. Which is probably a pretty safe bet.
Iíd go hear every world-renowned chamber orchestra, every quirky documentary film, every improv troupe that came to campus.
And Iíd sit up front.
Instead of loading up on classes in my comfort zone, Iíd take that art class, the one where you actually have to draw and sketch instead of look at slides of paintings by Giorgione and Titian. Iíd take it realizing that the worst thing that could happen would be that Iíd get a C.
And Iíd sit up front.
Oh, who am I kidding? If I mustered up the courage to take a studio art class, Iíd probably sit in the back. But just taking the class would mean Iíd seriously evolved.
This time around, Iíd stop worrying so much about how others perceived me and about whether I was wearing the right kind of shoes. Iíd realize that carrying yourself with confidence is what people really notice, not what youíre wearing.
OK, so I canít go back and do college over. But I can always choose to sit up front.
Contact Katie Scarvey at 704-797-4270 or kscarvey@salisburypost.com.

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