The first time I left college I was 19-years old. My best friend and I decided to move to Hawaii for one year. We had high expectations. We would arrive, temporarily stay with our friends, find jobs, get a cute little house by the beach and live like “Turtle” from the movie North Shore. Well, things don’t always go as planned.

My first job was at a bar/restaurant, which basically required me to wear 4-inch heels, a mini-skirt that had less material than a loincloth and a shirt that resembled a bikini-top. When I was handed my “uniform” I made a joke to the manager that I actually wanted to work inside the restaurant and not out on the street. She didn’t get my humor. I lasted three nights before I quit and took a job at a neighboring ice cream shop.

Now all we needed was our cute inexpensive beach cottage. Surprisingly, we found one and it even came furnished with pets; cute little black-brown bugs with huge tentacles. We might have taken the cockroach-cottage but it would mean that we wouldn’t be able to eat, considering the cost of groceries in Hawaii is on par with buying food at the Staples Center.

“I want to go home,” I announced to my friend three months into our yearlong adventure. She did too. So we did and by the fall semester I was enrolled in college again. However, unfortunately my wandering eye continued to plague me, luring me away from my higher education. I have been distracted by jobs, boyfriends, trips and at the top of my list; self-doubt.

Self-doubt will try to eat you alive and if you couple it with procrastination you are really in trouble.

This May, after a very long on-again-off-again relationship with college, I will finally graduate.

College isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of people who truly don’t see the value in it. But for those who do, you need to go and finish.

Trust me, there is no substitute for your college degree. You can tell yourself that being a parent is a substitute or being a spouse will do the trick, owning your own company may take away some of the sting and I am sure moving to a different country will help you temporarily forget. But in the long run, if you want the degree now, you will always want it and it will always, always bug you if you don’t finish.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Steven Spielberg he graduated from California State University of Long Beach in 2002. I wonder if his college degree was a requirement to make next his film or if it was just something he really wanted to finish? I’ll have to remember to ask him when I make it to the Academy Awards.

I wonder if  “Turtle” would consider staring in my first film.

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