College is the #1 time you ever really get the chance to “find yourself” – and it isn’t always an easy journey. Since graduating, I tend to look back and dwell on my last four years, it’s hard not to. I’ve found myself with some regrets, and I find that other college grads have some of their own.
The following are not necessarily my regrets, but more-so a collection of generalized ones I’ve collected over the years, and ones that I’ve noticed friends and peers gather as well.
1. Not getting involved in campus clubs/organizations sooner. Most freshman are intimidated, or maybe think they’re “too cool for school” (literally) as a first semester student. You’re having enough of a hard time making friends, adjusting to a new place, and attempting to wake up for your 8am alone. You’re overwhelmed and you can’t imagine adding one more thing to your plate. But, looking back, I, personally, wish I had gotten involved sooner. I graduated as President of one club and Vice President of another, but wasn’t involved until close to the end of my second semester. Some of my best memories (and friends!) came from the campus organizations I joined. The sooner your get out there and join a club or two, the sooner you broaden your horizons.
2. Meeting a boy/girl and immediately dating them. I used to be someone who thought I’d find my forever-significant other in college. I actually counted on it. And I know a lot of people who hope to, too. But the truth of the matter is, it’s hard. There are the few people who actually do fall in love during their time away at school and actually stay together following college, but it’s rare, especially in our generation. The biggest mistake I see college-aged kids making is picking a person and staying with them, even if they’re toxic together, solely because they think that they need to, or even that they’re supposed to. I’ve watch so many peers, friends, classmates, myself, etc. lose out on years of just being themselves because they’ve dedicated so much of the college careers to someone who, in reality, they knew they probably wouldn’t end up with. Do yourself a favor, and take time to get to know people before settling down. You might thank yourself in the long run.
3. Skipping so many classes. Sure, it felt like no big deal at the time. But looking back, it’s important to attend your courses. That C might have been a B with a better attendance score come the end of the semester. Those fifteen weeks fly by, there’s no reason to be missing so many classes and throwing away your money. There are people who can’t afford and education and would be happy to sit in that seat, so don’t take it for granted.
4. Not listening to that one professor who just wanted to see you succeed. It’s hard to not fight back with a professor who seems unreasonable, bossy, or just plain annoying. But in the end, all professors want their students to pass and succeed in life. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be wasting their time teaching the classes. I’ve come to realize that as my four years were dwindling to an end, there were more professors I loved and still kept in touch with over ones who I disliked and never thought of following the final exam. They’re passionate about the subject and they’re passionate about you. Think twice the next time you want to brush one of your professor’s annoying habits off, because they’re only doing it for one reason, and that reason is you.
5. Not calling home more. Your parents realize it’s time to let you wander (although they may never let you wander too far) and they might not always be the first to call you. Well, not at least after freshman year. However, they are sitting there, every night, patiently waiting and hoping for their phone to ring and for it to be your name on the caller ID. I remember calling home and ending up talking to my mom for hours on end without even realizing how much time had passed, because it had been that long since I had last spoken to her. It’s important to remind your parents every once in a while that you miss them, because even though you think of yourself as an adult in the college world, you are always their baby (and they are ALWAYS worrying!).
6. Trying to please everyone. If you’re a college grad, you damn well know that it’s not possible. If you’re early into your years of school, you might not have realized it yet. It is self-draining to make everyone happy and in trying to do so, you will certainly lose your own happiness. While you think you are being fair you are not being fair to the most important person in your life – you. It’s hard to balance the never ending schoolwork, the many of new friends you’ll meet over four years, roommates who want to drink every night of the week, family who is now not under the same roof, high school friends who want you to visit, the boy/girl from down the hall you’ve been seeing, etc. College is about balancing your time and being selfish so that you balance it to fit your own happiness. The sooner you realize you cannot please everyone, the better off you will be. The people who are meant to be in your life will always be there and will always understand.
7. Not getting a job. You don’t have to work away your college life, but it’s nice to not always call mom and dad and ask them to refill your bank account at least once a week. If you don’t have to work endless hours on top of school work, then don’t. But pick up a babysitting job around the town occasionally, walk dogs for an extra buck, or pick up one of the many jobs available on campus. There are countless jobs for every college student worth the little extra cash flow, even if it means giving up a thirsy Thursday here or there.
8. Going to college with high school friends and never taking the time to make new ones. For me, I went away to college with one of my very good girlfriends. We decided not to room together and although we knew we would always be friends and could always call upon one another, we didn’t hang out all that much, yet our friendship never, ever dwindled. We were the lucky ones. I see so many people go to college with their friends, most of them who decide to room together, and never, ever meet new people. Sometimes, it’s just that, they are forever friends who never got the opportunity to gain new ones. And then there are others, who, within their first two years, want to kill each other and end up not being friends at all. In that case, you just lost a great friend and you lost x-amount of years of the chance to meet new people.
In the end, it all made us who we are today. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing, because it was the experience of a lifetime; the best four years of my life. But for all you undergrads, some of these “regrets” might seriously be worth a second thought!
I’d love to hear from you about some of your college regrets! Comment below and share!