Posted in Blogging Challenge, Education, Musings, University

30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 25

Your Biggest Regret

While it’s not good to have regrets about things we can’t change… what I do regret is all the times in my life where I took the passive route instead of being more actively involved in my own life.

Times where I left early to go home and nap (I do love to nap btw), or missed out on opportunities because I couldn’t be bothered or didn’t feel like it. How often do we have to do things we don’t feel like doing because we must? Therefore when there’s the chance to do something fun but we’re not quite feeling up to it, then surely the right answer is just to do it anyway.

A lot of my regrets are linked to choices I made or didn’t make related to school, college, and uni. I wish at school I could have been more involved and invested in what school represented instead of being distracted by stupid arguments and dramas I can’t even remember anymore. If only I hadn’t taken the easy route, I could have gained a load of highers in fifth year instead of running out on the classes I did well on simply because I couldn’t face another year with said teachers. This is how I ended up being a fifth year with a free period (because I dropped music class), left Int 2 Maths instead of trying to work at it, and taking Int 2 ART in sixth year. What the hell! I wish I hadn’t drifted so much, school wasn’t a means to an end, it was just clocking time until my real life began. (It hasn’t really, yet.)

College the first year was great, I picked a bunch of subjects I was really excited about but then even though I had more free time than I did at school (but with an hour’s travel each way) I still looked to skin more time for myself, which meant leaving at lunchtime instead of spending time with friends – this could have solidified relationships more, gave me more time to study, made me feel less guilty about not studying at home. By the second year, I chose to resit classes I did in high school simply because it meant I’d already completed the course assessments and effectively would have more time to study for the final exam. That’s how I failed higher geography twice, upgraded my higher French and Biology from Cs to Bs… not that anyone bothered telling me they wouldn’t count. Not that anyone ever bothered informing me that four years of highers did nothing for me but kill time and make me realise I never wanted to study Psychology again. Le sigh.

In terms of Uni, I’m still in a love/hate relationship with Spanish. I really wanted to study Italian and preferably in Glasgow… yet every uni in Scotland that offered Italian to degree level all flipped me off and that’s how I ended up doing Spanish at Aberdeen. My consolation to myself was that at least Spanish was a language, it was related to Italian and it was better than doing a degree in something I had little interest in. And again, we come back to the same problems I did at college and school. I buried my head when things got tough and I coasted instead of facing and owning up to the challenges I experienced. I was taking 25 hours of classes a week, working 25 hours a week, travelling to-and-from work for around 12 hours a week and living in student accommodation where I was only allowed to sleep for about 4 or fewer hours a night. Thanks to all this effort just to make ends meet and maintain my place at uni, there wasn’t a lot of time to study… not that I usually had the energy left to study… it was difficult to keep up my great grades and I passed well enough, but it only made subsequent years harder as Spanish got harder and the dreaded year abroad loomed closer.

When I started second year, I had my adviser meeting on the first day of freshers where my tutor (who was also my Spanish teacher) asked me if I was still happy doing Spanish. I said yes without hesitating, and honestly that moment has haunted me ever since…

Posted in Memories, Music

1976-2017

Yesterday was the first time I was able to bring myself to listen to Linkin Park since Chester’s suicide. I listened to most of the Reanimation album (a few tracks were missing from my phone) since way back when it was my favourite LP album.

It’s hard to think back and remember how LP were such a massive part of my life when I was a young teenager. I had to have my own copies of the albums, Reanimation came out around one of my birthdays and was an extra treat, then Meteora dropped in 2003 and I swear I listened to that album everyday for about 40 days straight.

In November 2003 Linkin Park did their UK tour with their first ever date in Glasgow. I had already bought a ticket but I ended up winning a radio competition on Beat 106 and not only won 2 more tickets but also won backstage passes for my friends and I. It was the absolute greatest night of my life, the night before I turned 15, and solidified how much I loved LP and Chester.

I have fond memories of those few years, in the vacuum between albums I of course got interested in other bands like My Chemical Romance and Placebo (the latter to an obsessive point) and won countless radio competitions to win tickets for them and merchandise. The point is, despite school and reality, I had music to fall back on, I had my bands I could count on to make me feel better, to protect me in a little bubble world when I didn’t have the answers to the big things myself. The words Chester sang and screamed fit perfectly with my own feelings of angst and confusion and I am so much a better person for having been able to work through it all with his help. My only regret, and one I know everyone is and will be feeling, is that Chester didn’t get this same escape and closure to his angst and demons, or not enough of it, at least.

I’m sorry as the years went by and communications became easier, I’m sorry I didn’t just tweet or message the profound impact he and his band had on me. They made me want to do better, to work harder and more passionately. And they proved that dreams do come true. I’m still struggling to tie this happy part of my teenage-hood with the harsh realities I’ve faced myself and understand as an adult, I don’t know that I ever will, and I don’t know that I need to; the happiest memory I have is what will keep his memory alive.

e x