Advice I’d give to my college-aged self

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: “Youth is wasted on the young.” I often wish I could go back to my days as a college student at Suny Albany with the knowledge I have now and live those four years again. But what would I do differently?


What I’d change: I didn’t discover my passion for writing until I was in my thirties. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I “grew up,” but it wasn’t a writer. I majored in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. Armed with the knowledge I have now, I’d go back and major in English with a minor in communications or journalism.

Why I wouldn’t: My interest in the law resulted in my career as a paralegal. Even though it’s not my passion, I am financially secure because of it. I’m extremely grateful for that. My day job at a law firm also brought people into my life I’d otherwise never have met, in particular my late boss, Alan. Over the course of eighteen years, Alan became my best friend, confidante, mentor, cheerleader, therapist, and comic relief. The thought of beginning my writing career right out of college and never experiencing a friendship I consider one of my greatest accomplishments makes my heart hurt. If given the chance to go back, I’d still sit through lectures in criminal justice if only to ensure I’d meet Alan again.

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My late, great best friend and boss of almost two-decades. I miss him every day!

What I’d change: I didn’t come from a wealthy family. Most of my college tuition was paid for with financial aid. (For a lot of people, student loan debt is a big issue. Refinancing your student loans through a company like Earnest can be a great resource for graduates who didn’t get as much financial aid. Check out more information here.) I also worked summers as a camp counselor and was fortunate to have a small allowance from my grandmother for my spending money during the school year. Despite having to stretch every dollar as far as I could, it never occurred to me to get a job during the year. I wasn’t prepared to balance my school work, my social life, and a part-time job. In hindsight, I don’t know how I didn’t starve. Two of my roommates had jobs at the campus bookstore. If I went back in time, I’d try to get a job there, as well. I could spend hours at a bookstore. To get paid would be the chocolate sprinkles on my ice cream cone!

Why I wouldn’t: The fact that my impoverished self was able to manage financially without a job is something of a miracle. The post-graduate version has been working continuously since she was twenty-three, and retirement is about two decades away. Knowing there would be forty-plus years of work in my future, I’d probably skip the job again and enjoy the freedom while I had a chance!


What I’d change: I never considered using college to get my M.R.S., i.e. to find a husband. I was way too young to think of getting married. I didn’t even have serious relationships in college. I’ve had them since, but none of them have led to marriage. I often wish I had spent less time partying in college and more time making meaningful connections with the opposite sex. Maybe I’d be married now with a house full of children (or an empty nester by now). If I could go back, I’d be more aware of how much harder it becomes to meet attractive, interesting, smart, kind, and available men as you get older.

Why I wouldn’t: While I sometimes give myself a hard time over the romantic choices I made in my younger days to explain my single status today, if I fell in love at university, I doubt we’d still be a good match today. I’ve changed so much since college—my priorities, interests, etc. I don’t think I was ready back then. Besides, I spent those years making countless memories with my four best girlfriends—Jesse, Laurie, Christine, and Gina. We’re still friends today, and I wouldn’t give up any of my time with them.


In closing, I’ve shocked myself with this post because I’ve realized that if given the chance to go back to college, I probably wouldn’t do things much differently the second time around. For sure, I’d drink a little less, study a bit more, have more confidence in myself, and not worry about the minutiae. But it’s comforting to discover that the eighteen-to-twenty-two year old version of Meredith Schorr would make the forty-something version very proud simply by following her heart.

Throwback Thursday Blog – I Choose Happiness!

I’ve been crazy busy and unfortunately, did not have time to write a blog post this week. (In all honesty, I am so inspired by my fourth novel right now that I didn’t make the time to write a blog post this week.) So, I decided to re-post a blog I wrote several years ago for Throwback Thursday. When I wrote this post, I made a decision to be happy and the message I deliver in this blog is still relevant to me today. So are my feelings about dating, although I’ve had a few relationships since this post was originally published and at least one of them was good. And it’s very interesting to read my thoughts as an unpublished author writing my very first novel when I am now writing my fourth novel after publishing three. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this blog post. I’m pretty proud of my younger self 🙂

I treat myself to a hump-day coffee at Dunkin Donuts every, well, every hump-day. My law firm provides free coffee of which I take full advantage on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays but since it’s not that good and I love, love, love Dunkin Donuts coffee, I treat myself on Wednesdays. It’s not that I can’t afford to buy myself a coffee every weekday but doing it only on Wednesdays makes it kind of special and I actually look forward to Wednesday mornings because of it.

Pursuant to recent laws in New York, places like Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Starbucks, etc. are required to provide the calorie content for all items available on their menus. I used to eat a muffin at Dunkin Donuts every Saturday afternoon for brunch. My favorites were chocolate chip and blueberry. Well, thanks to this new law, I am now aware that a chocolate chip muffin at Dunkin Donuts is over 600 calories and a blueberry muffin is well over 500. (Even the low fat muffins are 425!). Needless to say, I have not eaten a muffin since that law took effect. (It’s not that I don’t over-indulge sometimes, but I usually burn between 600 and 800 calories at the gym and just don’t want to waste it all on a friggin muffin. A great burger or slice of pizza – abso-friggin-lutely, but a muffin?) So, imagine my surprise when I get to the counter at Dunkin Donuts to order my medium coconut coffee, extra light with half and half and three Equals to notice a 100 calorie Angel Food Cake muffin on the shelf. 100 calories seemed awfully low in comparison to the other muffins and so I was a bit skeptical. I asked the woman behind the counter if they were any good. She said “yes. try one for yourself.” Then she handed me my coffee and a free Angel Food Cake muffin. In response to a simple question about the delicious-ness of the muffin, she gave me one – for free!

I am a member of book-club. We meet one Wednesday night a month and discuss a different chick-lit book. After we discuss the book, we inevitably discuss men and it’s so much fun swapping stories and dating nightmares with other women in their 20s and 30s. Since some of the women are happily married or involved with someone, hearing their stories also restores my faith in relationships. Anyway, since I am writing a chick-lit book myself, I (of course) shared this information with my fellow book clubbers who are anxious to read it.

One of the girls in my book club works for an agent and, although the agent does not represent books of the chick-lit genre, she has offered to let me pick her brain when I am ready to begin my agent search. In addition, she has already told me about helpful websites for finding an agent like Finally, since she herself has published a book, we stood outside after our last meeting and talked for a good 15 minutes about the process. Another girl in the club works for a publishing company. She sent me an email last week that she attended a conference and picked up business cards from various editors and agents to give to me. I didn’t ask for her help – she simply gave it to me.

The muffin was kind of gross and, despite assistance from others, getting my book published is a lofty aspiration. My point in sharing the above is simply to remind myself that there are some really nice people out there and perhaps rather than feel an ache in my gut because someone I cared about has shown himself to be not so nice after all, I should instead feel warmth in my heart as a result of random acts of kindness bestowed onto me by strangers and new friends. Focusing on the people who have let me down or made me feel bad about myself does not make me happy. Being on both the giving and receiving ends of a random act of kindness, and even simply observing one, however, makes me very happy. And you know what? I like being happy. You might be thinking “Duh! Of course she likes being happy” but while I give a lot of credence to those times when I feel sad, disappointed or just plain hopeless, I tend to take those moments when all seems right in the world for granted. Rather than bitch about the guy who didn’t bother to keep the door open for me when I was behind him leaving the gym, I’ll think about the person who smiled and thanked me for holding the door for her at Dunkin Donuts since her hands were full. Rather than whine about the friend who won’t talk to me anymore because I missed her party to go to S. Carolina, I’ll remember the impromptu invitation I received from another friend to go out at midnight on Saturday night. (I took her up on it, stayed out late, had a blast, kissed a boy and spent the night HAPPY). I want to start embracing every moment of sheer happiness, however fleeting, because it is those moments that make life worth living. It is those moments that not only give me hope for the future but often make me forget about the future and concentrate on the here and now.

I want to do what makes me happy and right now that includes spending time with my friends and writing, writing and more writing. It currently does not include going on dates with strangers I’ve met online and so I’m not going to do that right now. What’s great about that decision is that I can change my mind at anytime and, at such time the thought of online dating makes me happy again, I’ll do it. I’m not removing my profile and if I hear from a guy who really captures my interest, I’ll go out with him because THAT would make me happy. But, for now, I either want to be excited about someone or nothing at all – none of this lukewarm nonsense for me – it does not make me happy. Quite the contrary, it stresses me out. I’ve been reading lots of posts from girls/women really excited about the guys they are dating and that’s what I want. And until someone excites me again, I’d rather not bother. And to be honest, I do think a romantic interest is more likely to find me when my priorities are elsewhere. I would much rather spend my evenings curled on my couch with a glass of cabernet, or at a bookclub meeting, or in a coffee shop writing on my laptop or at a bar/restaurant with my friends than on a date with a guy whose online profile seems “decent”. I’ve just had enough of the online thing and the thought of forcing myself to give out my phone number and chat with some guy I don’t know just because he looks sort of good in his pictures, is somewhat age appropriate and also likes baseball does not currently make me happy. Maybe that’s because I’ve been disappointed lately and am disheartened at the entire process but the reason is irrelevant. If it doesn’t make me happy and will not improve the lives of those close to me or anyone else for that matter, I’m just not interested.

There are so many things in life that leave us without a choice in the matter – for everything else, I choose happiness!

Hope to have a fresh blog for you all next week! In the meantime, what made YOU happy today?