I recently purchased the uber-dork Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set and have been working through the seasons. Over the weekend I watched the end of season 3, in which Buffy and the gang deal with demons, vampires, Faith (mmmmm….Eliza Dushku) and, oh yeah, the end of high school and all that entails. Watching the cast deal with things applying to and selecting colleges, taking the SATs, prom, and all of the other things which lead up to graduation made me think of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way lead on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
From Selected Poems of Robert Frost published by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
It did not take a minute of reflection for me to know why I these episodes brought this particular poem to mind. For me college represents the road not taken even thought I attended the University of Houston for two years after graduation.
If I remember correctly UH was the only school to which I bothered to apply. I will tell people a variety of reasons for this decision but ultimately I think it has more to do with laziness and apathy than anything else. That is not entirely true. There is no way I was going to go to Texas A&M since it seemed like half my high school was going to go there and I wanted something different. As I sit here typing away I am well aware of the irony that attending A&M would have been a much larger change than UH.
Although I was living in the dorms, UH was close enough to home to where I would go home most weekends. Going home on the weekends did two things. First it removed me from much of the social life of the school, and at UH there was not too much of a school=centric social life to begin with. Second it allowed me to continue hanging out with most of my friends from high school. Ultimately going to UH allowed me to prolong my high school years for another two years.
There were some positive experiences at UH. If nothing else I met Rob who has turned out to be one of the best friends a guy can have. But in the end all UH ended up being was an extension of my high school experience rather than the new experience college should be and therefore college remains my road not taken. I took the easier path. And my single largest regret.