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College Regrets!

Updated: Mar 15

We asked 87 students what they regretted from college, and here's some of what they said.


"Not socializing with people more. Turns out it’s really hard to make friends outside of school/college."
"Not coming out sooner."
"Not volunteering/interning more in college before starting my career. It's harder to "try things out" when you work a full time 8-5. Lol"
"Overthinking, anxiety! Had a lot of self-esteem issues"

Along with mental health and personal challenges, students also expressed regrets about missed opportunities for social growth and career exploration. College is full of learning experiences, but even after learning from all our mistakes, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what lies after graduation.


Here are some pieces of guidance from those who came before you — reflections on what they wish they had done differently, advice that they wish they had known — and reassurance for the journey ahead.


1. Exploring Future Paths & Gaining Internship Experience

It's natural to view graduate school as the next logical step after completing undergraduate studies. Our lives have been structured around academic institutions for so long that we tend to fall back to being a student because of the routine and familiarity. However, many alumni caution against assuming that this comfortable path is always the wisest choice. They suggest taking a step back to consider if graduate school truly aligns with long-term goals. What many wish they had done was to take the time to gain a deeper understanding of personal passions before committing to further higher education.



Internships are one of the ways to gain work experience, and can also serve as a way to explore various fields before committing to a specific career path. They provide hands-on experience, exposure to different work environments, and the chance to network with professionals in the field. Employers also often look for candidates who not only have academic qualifications, but also these practical experiences. Without relevant work experience, landing a job after graduation can be challenging.


2. Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

Another common regret is not taking full advantage of the opportunities and resources available to them. Many wish they had pushed themselves out of their comfort zones more often, whether it was trying new activities, studying abroad, or taking interesting courses that may not have been associated with their major. The time constraints and pressures that come with a full-time job make opportunities to explore personal interests more difficult.


3. Socializing and Networking

Along the lines of stepping outside your comfort zone, many wish they had socialized more. Post-grad, they realized that making friends outside of the structured environment of school can be challenging. Past just socializing with peers, alumni also mention networking, as it’s often helpful for future career opportunities.


But at the same time, focus more on building meaningful relationships and less on superficial ones. College is a time to form lifelong friendships and professional connections, but it's easy to get caught up in social cliques and fleeting relationships.


College is a time of growth, exploration, and self-discovery. While it's natural to have regrets and imagine scenarios in which different choices were made, each experience, whether positive or challenging, has contributed to your personal and academic development.


 

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