I taught my first class at Columbia University’s M.F.A. program this month, and even though I’ve been teaching college writing since 1993, I initially felt a little intimidated by the school’s regal campus. That, and regretful.

        I enjoyed going to college at the University of Michigan, an hour from            home, but my secret humiliation is: I was the type of mediocre student          I now disdain. As a freshman, I cared about my friends, my boyfriend            and my poetry. Or, I cared about what my boyfriend thought of my                friends, what my friends thought of him, and what they thought of my            poetry about him. Here’s what I wish I’d known and done differently:

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