Could’ve Would’ve Should’ve

Note: This post was drafted on March 20, 2013. An addendum was added and it was published on May 29, 2013.

Lately I’ve been having dreams where I mess up very mundane things. I get a 16/20 on one of my two-page writing assignments in one of my classes. I realize that I forgot to order the college-wide study break just as it’s scheduled to begin. I can’t articulate my order well or loudly enough at Late Meal and the guy behind the counter gets mad at me. And in my dreams I hang my head and feel dejected and guilty. I get frustrated with myself.

In my waking life, are things so different? I didn’t get a summer grant I applied for, and I didn’t get into the study abroad program I wanted. I’m convinced my mom likes my dog better than she likes me. I feel like I should have constructive, engaging summer plans, but I don’t. I’m very behind on one of my classes and I don’t even know if I want to keep taking it. I feel like I haven’t been open to meeting new people and haven’t been maintaining my friendships well. I’ve found myself apologizing often, so much so that “sorry” has become as common in my vernacular as “thank you” or “excuse me.” I’m fixated on how the right side of my face is at least a couple of millimeters lower than my left.

I could easily attribute this all to Vitamin-D deficiency, seasonal affective disorder, PMS, or any of the other likely culprits that might explain these admittedly self-loathing thoughts. But I can’t help but wonder, am I living my life right? Am I doing these four college years right?

Well, I have to ask myself, what do you mean by “right”?

Does “right” mean what makes you happy?

Does “right” mean what is going to lead to a successful career? Employment?

Does it mean what other people want to do?

Does it mean what other people want you to do?

I think the easy, utopian answer is “yes” to the first and “no” to the last three. It’s easy to say that what’s “right” is doing what makes you happy, ignoring everything else, and trusting that it’ll lead you to satisfaction. Easier said than done. As someone who doesn’t take a weekend trip without first making an itinerary, that sounds terrifying. This idea reminds me of how the residential college deans encouraged us as freshman to take courses in a variety of departments to explore our options. They also tell us to “Study what you love!” Again, easier said than done. If I take courses in all different departments, I might find out what I love studying, but depending on how long it takes me to discover it, how much time is even left for me to excel at it?

Freshman year, I took courses in all different departments. Excluding freshman seminars and writing sem, I took classes in the following departments: Architecture, Psych, Chinese, Mol Bio and Econ. Last summer, I took an Anthropology class, and this year I’ve taken classes in Engineering (Social Entrepreneurship), Chinese, Anthropology, Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, English, and Sociology. (Side note: please friend me/accept my friend request on ICE) And while I did gain some valuable insight on what I didn’t want to study, I feel like exploring for a quarter of my academic career has cut me off from the possibility of being better. For example, that year and a half I spent learning Chinese? What if I had spent it on perfecting my French? I should have applied for a Creative Writing class freshman year. I should have tried my hand at poetry this semester instead of fiction. I like my EEB class a lot right now. What if I like that better than Anthro? Do I like Anthro enough to major in it?

By now, you might be thinking the same thing as I am: Stop. You might be thinking that because, well, who wants to read other people’s desperate, reflective internal monologue? For me, though, I’m telling myself to stop because there’s nothing I can do about it. I could’ve/would’ve/should’ve done so may different things, but the only way I know that is because I’ve already gone through these past experiences and could only have gained the knowledge that I have now by doing so.

Addendum: I wrote the above post a while ago, apparently at 11:40 PM on March 20. I don’t really remember what prompted it, but I was on spring break and I was probably thinking about life and getting stressed out, I don’t know.

But since then, I’ve made summer plans that I’m really excited about. I think I ended my sophomore year well overall. I kept taking that class I was behind in and I did well in it. I realized that not getting into my study abroad program was a good thing, because I don’t want to go abroad during the school year. I made a conscious effort not to use apologetic language all the time. My parents still like my dog better than me and my face still looks crooked on iPhone selfie mode, but ya can’t win ’em all. My dreams haven’t been as stressful–although last night I did have one where I couldn’t figure out what kind of cigarette to buy to put in an e-cigarette. I don’t even think that’s how those things work. I also dreamt that I ran into one of my classmates from my English class this semester at the mall, where he was bleaching his hair for a theme night at TI. He told me that the reason I didn’t have fun when I went out (which isn’t necessarily always true) was because I didn’t open up to other people.

So here, take this post. Here’s me opening up to you about things I was worried abut two months ago and will probably be worried about again. Maybe you will too. Then we’ll all remember that an experience only becomes a “regret” or a “mistake” if you don’t learn something valuable from it. (Or if you really fuck up and commit a felony or injure some one/yourself but let’s not go down that road. But actually maybe you’d even learn something way down that road.) I’d also rather over-experience than under-experience. Meaning, I’d rather get involved in a lot of things and taking the chance of not liking the things I’m involved in (shout out to the Sailing Team, removing me from your listserv was cold) than let the opportunity pass me by and be left wondering what it could’ve been like. You’re never not going to wonder what the negative film of your life could have been like, if you had made totally different choices. But think about how many more could’ve/would’ve/should’ve’s you’d have if you never made any new choices at all?




If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this blog post is going to be a rough fucking ride.

For those of you that have your heads resting on your desks, which apparently is the majority of this school, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of writing our Dean’s Date papers and general studying activities with our academic careers. I’ve been reading tweets on tweets about people LITERALLY being so fucking LAZY and so fucking UNPRODUCTIVE. If you’re reading this right now and saying to yourself “But oh em gee Liz, I’ve been going to the library so much this week!”, then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don’t have to fucking find you on campus to do it myself.

I do not give a flying fuck, and your professors do not give a flying fuck, about how much you fucking go to the library. You had one and a half weeks to fuck around, and today is NOT, I fucking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. These remaining days are about pulling your papers out of your ass, and that’s not fucking possible if you’re going to stand around and go to Starbucks and not write. Newsflash you stupid cocks: PAPERS DON’T WRITE THEMSELVES. Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: WE’RE NOT GOING TO GET OUR PAPERS DONE IF WE FUCKING PROCRASTINATE, which by the way in case you’re an idiot and need it spelled out for you, WE FUCKING PROCRASTINATE A LOT SO FAR.

This also applies to you little shits that have talked openly about taking a nap in your bed WHILE YOUR PAPERS ARE UNWRITTEN. Are you people fucking retarded? That’s not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you’re mentally slow so I can make sure you don’t go back to your dorm. If someone openly said “Yeah I have an 8-10 page paper and a 12-15 page paper left to write but I’m just gonna watch the new Kristen Wiig SNL real quick”, would you let them? WOULD YOU? No you wouldn’t, so WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU LET YOURSELF DO THAT?? ON SUNDAY NIGHT?!! First of all, you SHOULDN’T be participating in leisure activities, I don’t give a FUCK if you slept for three hours last night, if you have a cold, or if you have your period. YOU DON’T STOP. YOU. DON’T. STOP. WRITING. And you ESPECIALLY do fucking NOT go on Facebook.

“But Liz!”, you say in a whiny little bitch voice to your computer screen as you read this blog post, “I’ve been single-spacing what I have so far and putting the author’s name and page number in my footnotes, doesn’t that count for something?” NO YOU STUPID FUCKING ASS HATS, IT FUCKING DOESN’T. DO YOU WANNA KNOW FUCKING WHY?!! IT DOESN’T COUNT BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN FUCKING UP AT TIME MANAGEMENT TOO. I’ve not only gotten texts about people being fucking DUMB about their priorities (for example, being stupid shits and writing a blog post and saying stuff like “durr what’s my two papers waiting for me to write?” is not fucking funny), but I’ve gotten texts about people actually getting a full night’s sleep. A full. Night’s. Sleep. ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID?!! I don’t give a SHIT about your circadian rhythm, YOU WAKE UP GODDAMN EARLY AND DON’T SLEEP UNTIL LATE, HAVE YOU NEVER HAD A DEAN’S DATE? ARE YOU A FUCKING FRESHMAN? Or are you just so fucking dense about what it means to be a successful student that you think being a healthy normal member of the human race is going to get you anything better than a B+? Well it’s time someone told you, NO ONE FUCKING LIKES THAT, ESPECIALLY OUR FUCKING PROFESSORS. I will fucking cunt punt the next person I hear about doing something like that, and I don’t give a fuck if you SOR me, I WILL FUCKING ASSAULT YOU.

“Ohhh, I’m now crying because your blog post has made me oh so so sad”. Well good. If this blog post applies to you in any way, meaning if you are a little asswipe that is reading this instead of writing your paper or if you’re a weird shit that actually goes outside during the day, this following message is for you:


I’m not fucking kidding. Write them. Seriously, if you have done ANYTHING I’ve mentioned in this blog post and have some rare disease where you’re unable to NOT do these things, then you are HORRIBLE, I repeat, HORRIBLE PR FOR THIS UNIVERSITY. I would rather have 40 readers that are productive, efficient, and not fucking procrastinating than 80 that are fucking procrastinators. If you are one of the people that have told me “Oh nooo boo hoo I can’t write my paper because I’m not caffeinated”, then I pity you because I don’t know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind get some fucking coffee and stop being a goddamn cock block for your own success. Seriously. I swear to fucking God if I see anyone being a goddamn boner one hour before the Dean’s Date deadline, I will tell you to get your shit together even if you say you’re trying. I’m not even kidding. Try me.

And for those of you who are offended at this blog post, I would apologize but I really don’t give a fuck. Go fuck yourself.



EDIT: In case you thought I was batshit/brilliant enough to come up with this myself: