The other night we were listening to my parents talking about their other grandkids, my nieces and nephews. The two oldest are boys and are having some trouble adjusting to the adult world.
One of them graduated, barely, from high school last year, and the second one actually failed to graduate from high school this year because he didn't complete a necessary project. This boy has always relied upon his charm to get by, but this time it did not work. (He did manage to cash the check i sent him for graduation, but he did not manage to thank me.) He also got fired from two jobs this summer for not showing up.
At one point in the conversation the Mister called him a ne'er-do-well. That bothered me, so i brought it up later, when the parents were gone.
I think there are many opportunities to start over and get it right. I have done it myself a few times. Life is not ruined because you screw up when you are 18 and don't get into the right college.
My first college career was completely wasted (and i do mean wasted as i went to college in the 70s). I just went because i didn't know what else to do and my parents would pay. I would have been better served by taking a few years off and working at some minimum wage job. That would have matured and motivated me like nobody's business.
The second time i went to college, 10 years later, i started completely over with algebra 101 and worked my way up the chain to calculus at a local community college. I ended up graduating with an electrical engineering degree with honors after transferring to a 4 year college. (Note to mom, i AM good at math.)
And then 4 years later, when the Mister decided he loved someone else and after spending 3 years at home with Em, i started over again as a temp worker at the job i quit 11 years later as a manager of an entire group. (Lots of great temp jokes ensued from this position: In many states it's legal to kill a temp, and (from Dilbert) Temps are the people that you don't make eye contact with in the halls.)
I am the queen of starting over, and right now i have an excellent life. I did get the Mister to retract the ne'er-do-well label.
There are some mistakes that will haunt you the rest of your life, but not these simple immature ones.