I was thinking about college or, as my dad liked to remind me, the higher education that almost didn't happen.
I knew early on that I wanted to study mass communications. For about a year, I contacted area colleges that specialized in mass communications. My dad had one stipulation: The college had to be a commuter school; he still needed me around to mow the lawn and throw out the trash.
I had interviews with local college admission officers who reminded me that just because I sounded like a disc jockey, it would eventually be my grades that got me in.
Did I forget to tell you that I really didn't have the right grades to get me in to schools like Hofstra or NYU? I lacked that 90 average, and I also lacked the right SAT score. My dad wanted me around to throw out the trash because I had the right grades to work for New York City's Department of Sanitation.
He was so insightful.
People say timing is everything, and just when I was about to give up on college and the idea of spinning records for a living, open admissions was implemented at CUNY. That meant that a school had to accept a certain number of people who might have not had the grades. I was accepted to Queens College, which, lucky for me, had a prestigious mass communications program. I was going to college and I was going to spin records. It didn't get any better than that.
Queens College, a four-year college, had more than 30,000 undergraduate students who commuted to campus. For the first few months, I rode the bus like everyone else and made several transfers along the way.
I needed to be in art history class at 8 a.m., so I had to leave my house at 6 a.m. My second class was at noon. Freshman orientation failed to educate me on how to reduce downtime between classes. My last class of the day was Chinese history at 4 p.m. It was a long day, but I would hang around the radio station and the college newspaper.
However, freshman orientation also failed to convey that the radio station and college newspaper didn't let first-term freshmen work for them.
My college life was ruined. I wasn't going to spin records after all.
I wasn't going to write for the paper either. I was commuting for nothing. What else was there to do? I joined the junior varsity baseball team as a walk-on and moved to the varsity team by the end of the season. Go figure.