Mike on Mike: Empty Promises


After high school I didn’t have a triumphant feeling. I wasn’t ready to take on the world. I didn’t even know if I was ready to go to school somewhere other than Carey. Truthfully, I was all too aware of how the next few years would shape my life together, and I was terrified of making the wrong decision.

The decision I’m talking about is picking my major. I was clueless out of high school. Even at Nassau Community College, there were nearly a hundred choices, all of them unappealing to me. There was no “Be happy and get rich” major, or I might’ve chosen it. Those were my criteria, so why not?

As is often the case, I started college taking some of the standard classes- math (yikes!) english, and bio. among them. Math was awful, but there was no surprise there. English was far and below the academic level of what I’d been doing in AP at Carey, and I found myself easily bored. In biology, though, I had an intelligent teacher who demanded excellence and challenged us to work to our ability. At a school like Nassau, all professors should be that way.

Maybe it was the bio prof., or maybe it was the fact that I had recently seen two full seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, but for whatever reason, I declared myself a biology major that next semester. I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I figured I would simply ace Nassau, take my perfect grades to a great school, continue on, and voila – in a few years, I’d be applying to Johns Hopkins with honors.

I guess the prospect of “all that school” felt ilke a good thing; with any measure of luck, I would be in a classroom for the next six years, know *exactly* what I was doing when I finished, make a lot of money, and have no trouble finding a job.

Then, as school wore on, and the semesters at Nassau went by, and I was barry passing some of the upper level sciences there, my dream started to fade.

I did do one bright thing, though. I changed my major to “Joint Admissions”. Basically, Nassau is a state school, and so they allowed (at the time) for a student to pick another state school to be automatically admitted to upon graduation. No applications, no denials. Just a smooth transfer. I chose Stony Brook, and due to a fortunate misfiling on SUNY’s end, wound up being allowed to register for classes a full semester ahead of my NCC graduation.

I jumped on the chance. Then things got really ugly.