As I celebrate graduation from college, I look back with joy but also realize that there are a few things I wish I had done differently. Even though I had a lot of fun during college and truly enjoyed it, I have some regrets and hope that sharing them might keep someone else from making them.
Nine regrets I have as I graduate from college
1. Not putting myself out there
Entering college, I was very shy and quiet. I am an introvert and I value my alone time. This made it kind of difficult for me to make friends, and throughout freshman year, I felt very alone. I think the most important piece of advice I would give my younger self is to put myself out there and talk to more people.
Typically, people in college are very friendly and open to making friends. I wish I had gotten to know more people and been more outgoing because I think that would have made a big difference to my college experience.
2. Not joining clubs and activities as a freshman
I really wish I had joined more clubs as a freshman. This can be such a great way to make friends. I should have made more of an effort to find a club or sport that would have been fun for me.
I joined a sorority my sophomore year and made some of my best friends! I wish I had joined as a freshman so that I could have made these friendships earlier. In my junior year, I was the advertising director for the student newspaper. Through this experience, I made some amazing friends and there were also many social activities such as a Thanksgiving dinner and other fun holiday events. Most clubs will do social events to make the club more engaging, which can be a fun way to network and make friends.
3. Comparing myself to others on social media
I spent a lot of my time freshman year staring at my phone and comparing my life to other people’s. I would constantly see other people going out and having fun with their friends while I was alone in my dorm room. I should have put my phone down more often. It is important to remember that social media is just a highlight reel of people’s lives and it’s not reality. As a senior, I have become much better at not comparing myself to other people and it’s liberating.
4. Being too stressed out about school
There were so many times when my friends were going out to lunch, going for a hike, or doing other fun things and I said no to going because I was so worried about school. I wish I had realized that making friends and spending time with people is just as important as getting good grades. It’s also important for your mental health to be hanging out with friends and enjoying yourself instead of being singularly focused on academics.
5. Not networking in my classes
I regret not making friends in every class. Some of my classes were so difficult and I felt like I had no one to turn to. I felt alone whenever I did not understand an assignment or had a question. A piece of advice for my younger self is on the first day of every class, introduce yourself to someone and get their contact information.
After my freshman year, I started to do this, but I should have done this sooner because it would have been a huge help to have someone to study with in some of my most challenging classes.
6. Not being myself
During my first two years of college, I was so worried about what others thought of me. That held me back because I sometimes would just stay quiet rather than speaking my mind. I would have been so much happier if I had just been my genuine, authentic self from day one.
7. Being worried about the future all the time
I spent a lot of my college experience being stressed about the future. I always felt so pressured to find the perfect internship or the perfect job. I should have enjoyed living in the moment more often. Finding a job is important, but stressing over it constantly is not helpful.
8. Not being more careful when choosing a roommate
Almost every college student has a roommate that doesn’t end up being a good match at some point or another. I regret not being more thoughtful about who I lived with. I definitely wish I had been more mindful of who I signed a lease with and made sure that our living styles were compatible–such as what time the other person wakes up and goes to bed, if they like having people over, if they are clean or messy, and if they are loud or quiet.
9. Getting mad at myself for making mistakes
I regret beating myself up over small things. I wish I had realized that college is a time to learn and grow as a person. I think I entered college thinking everything had to be perfect. I would often let small things ruin my whole day. I have learned to not let little things get to me and that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
While I have regrets, they do not detract from the fact that I’ve had some of the best memories of my life in the past four years. I know I have grown and broadened my horizons and I’m excited for what the future holds. College is a unique experience for everyone. My final piece of advice is enjoy each day because it goes by very fast!
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