As my college career comes to an end, there are a lot of retrospective fantasies I ultimately dip into walking across campus and seeing the different people around and what they have invested their time into. I sit in a coffee shop I have sat in the past 3 years here in Dinkytown and I wonder, what if I had been here the whole time? If I had lived in Comstock my freshmen year or if I had actually said hello to that one cute girl in class in Mankato. Those are two unrelated forks in the road, as I had my choice to spend my entire college career at Minnesota State University, Mankato those many years back, but of course it represents a deeper question, what if I had stayed in Mankato or if I had gotten into the University of Minnesota right off the bat. Maybe, my freshmen experience would have been just as dismal as it was in Mankato- just as alienating or un-inclusive. These are the questions that happen at the end of anything, especially if different answers could have changed the entirety of my young adult life.
Fantasy, as it has been throughout my college career, is a- well, maybe the next time this situation happens again I will be more proactive or engage myself more. Fantasy, as it is now, is a- damn, those situations are kind of out of my grasp now. This is not a- damn, I made the wrong decisions- situation, but a- lets fantasize again, because without fantasy, we have the normal reality in front of us. I articulate my fantasies, because the people who I know who are going into this phase of college and collegiate possibility, have a completely different sets of anxieties and what-ifs. Of course, the connection can be made that I am embarking on the realness of life, actually confronting real life with a career and a salary, not tuition, but I am still moving to the unknown of the next set of compounding fantasies. How exciting!
As a freshman, I imagined, a fantastical fantasy, that college would an intellectual melting pot. Everyone who was in college had opinions, wanted to share them, and wanted to shape their lives with the help of others. I was let down initially, because fantasies of college are manifested through experiences which may not actually exist, like sitting on the quad smoking a joint and discussing the peculiarities of our built environments. No, these things are silly, but maybe something along those lines would have existed. At least, the smoking a joint on the quad had to exist. They did not. It boiled down to having marginal classroom experiences stifled by judgmental students, shy students, and students which may not want to be there anyways, class was just an accessory to receiving money from their parents. I was none different, class was just an accessory to receiving money from my parents. Today, I answer the question. Mankato was the problem. That may still be cop out today as much as it was before, because I am sure that same shallow freshmen educational experience exists here at the U. I have a fantasy that the U is different.
As a Sophomore, I imagined that the U was the intellectual melting pot and brain stimulate I needed to be whole again. I got to the U and realized that I felt just as isolated as before. As a Junior, I found what I was looking for. And it was engagement on campus. I was a campus tour guide. I was the person who people (mostly high school students) fantasized about being, not specifically a campus tour guide, but in college, experiencing life independently, and being apart of the intellectual melting pot.
Now, with six weeks left on my college time clock, I am fantasizing about everything. What if I just stuck around a little longer, took some more science classes, because it seems that people with science backgrounds are more employable. What if… careers, that girl that I was talking to last year came into the coffee shop and we actually hit it off this time, I actually found the time to become a freelance web designer…
Stop. Fantasy, as I have known it over the long time I have spent doing it, neglects what has actually happened. So, I look at all the things that I was like, “dude, just do it, just try it, just go, it might be super lame, but maybe this is the start of something”, and I realize how many times I lived fantasy. I lived what I could have sat at home on the couch and thought about being there doing it. Those times, I was outside my lame-duck self, and living my fantasy self. College is literally this everyday.
I know that this is a message that is out there all the time. Take risks and try new things, but I propose a word change. Take risks and live in fantasy land, fucking literally. That makes it a bit more personable. Next time a professor seems cooler than others, meet with them just to chat. Next time a car honks at you on campus, flick them off and make a huge stink about it. Next time that evangelist crazy man is helling at you, YOU ARE A SINNER, ask why? And listen carefully. The list literally stops there, because if I give you any more examples, you probably won’t do them, because goddamnit, live your fantasy, not mine.