If I could only do it all over again…

Chad Filley
Guest Writer

Whenever I think of ACT testing I’m brought back to my time teaching high school in North Dakota. One of my students asked me whether or not she should take the ACT test (which claims to be an accurate predictor of collegiate success). I told her the only way she should take it was if she could spell ACT. I would have given 3 to 1 odds that she couldn’t spell it correctly.  Turns out I was right.

My 17-year-old son Tyrel took the test last April and scored high enough to catch the interest of a collection of colleges and universities. I don’t write this to brag but to explain that our house has been inundated with college brochures (so has his e-mail account). About a month ago he received an ad from a University on the West Coast. After bringing the brochure to me our conversation went something like this:

“Do you know anything about this school?” He asked.

“No, but why don’t you google it to see if it has any famous alumni. If Walter Kronkite went there, then they probably have a good journalism department.”


“Never mind… just go look for famous alumnus.”

I resumed making supper. A few minutes later he came upstairs with a puzzled look on his face.

“Its most famous alumnus is Ted Bundy.”

Two things instantly ran through my head. First off, what kind of a school lists a serial killer as its most famous former student? I also couldn’t help but think that they must have one heck of a thorough women’s study program.

Watching Tyrel sift through college propaganda has been fascinating for me. It brings me back to when I was that age, yet it also allows me to live through this as a parent. Having been there I know it’s an exciting time for him, but having been there, I also know it can be terrifying to think about what you want to do for the rest of your life.

I once went to a student’s graduation open house who barely made it through high school. This young man had a 1.36 grade point average and finished dead-last in his class ranking. To top it off he wasn’t overly motivated.  Although I feared what his answer might be, I asked him what his future plans were.

“I’m not very smart and I’m kind of lazy so I figured maybe I could be a Governor.”

After seeing who Alaska and Arkansas have elected in the past, and Wisconsin’s current governor, I think he may have a shot.

Watching your kids find their way can be both tough and exciting. There are so many pressure-filled choices that they need to make. It’s frightening seeing young adults making decisions in their late teens and early twenties that will have lifelong consequences.

I don’t believe the old adage that education is wasted on the young mainly because I think educating our youth is of the utmost importance, but I do think that first chances are often wasted on the young.

I find it revealing that many adults profess that there is no way they would ever want to relive their high school years but once those same people open up a can of lager they began stating how they wish they could do it all over again. They want is a redo. Unfortunately, only the game of golf allows mulligans; real life doesn’t allow us such luxuries.

Chad Filley will be performing at the Cambridge American Legion on Thurs. Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. with fellow comedians Matt Born and Scott Kadrlik.

Chad Filley is a stand up comedian from East Central Minnesota. You can see a listing of his upcoming shows on his website, www.chadfilley.com.