College is supposed to be the best years of your life, but just how true is that really? Ask any graduate about their time at college and I bet you a lot of them will tell you that there are a lot of things they regret: things that they could have done differently, and things that they just didn’t do at all but should’ve.
Perhaps they feel that they wasted their time, did some really stupid things, or simply did not try hard enough; but since scientists haven’t yet discovered the mechanical combination that would make a time machine, there is no way for them to go back in time and relive those days of freedom. The only thing they can do now is to pass on their advice to current and soon-to-be college students.
This article aims not to remind you of your own regrets or point out what you have done wrong but rather to inform others about what they should be doing while in college so that they don’t miss out on real-life opportunities.
So here is a list of the ten biggest regrets college students have after graduation:
10. Choosing the Wrong Major
The reality is that most students finish college and end up working in a job that has little or nothing at all to do with their major. Some graduates find that they don’t want to work in the related field as it doesn’t excite them anymore, while others regret the fact that they didn’t select a more employable major. Whereas a degree in engineering, technology or IT would have easily granted them a job, a degree in humanities (e.g.: social science, arts or education) means that they will have fewer employment opportunities down the line.
This is why it is important to research your intended major and look into the prospects of the related profession before you make your decision. However, choosing a course purely for its employment prospects is as bad as working in a job that you don’t like. The key to becoming a happy and employed college graduate is in finding a job that can be associated with your interests and has a real-world application.
9. Not Making the Most of What the Campus Has to Offer
No matter whether you lived on campus or not, chances are you haven’t been involved in what your college had to offer as much as you wanted to. Despite the fact that you had unlimited access to a range of facilities, such as the college library and the brand-new luxurious sports club, you still did not take the time to experience everything they had to offer. Also, you regret the fact that you weren’t as actively involved in campus events and student activities, or at least not as much as you would have liked, and now employers are asking if you have had any volunteering experience as a college student…
8. Not Being Single
Many college graduates have regrets about their romantic relationships. A lot of students who happened to be in a serious relationship during their time at college believe it was too early for them, while those who were single said they missed out on opportunities as they didn’t take any risks or failed to identify if there were any. Since college students have more freedom than they will ever experience later on in life, it makes sense that they would’ve preferred to be single in college.
7. Not Having Travelled More
As a college student, you have all the time in the world to travel around the world and visit countries you’ve never been before and to experience different things. Provided that you have saved enough money, it’s much easier for you to travel while you are still young and free from many of life’s responsibilities. Not finding the time to travel while in college is definitely something you will regret later on. Especially if you have been studying in central Europe where living costs and transportation is much cheaper.
6. Not Studying Harder
According to Psychology Today, one of the biggest regrets in life has to do with education, and that’s because education helps every person improve in a variety of disciplines in their personal lives including family, relationships, and health. By not applying themselves more in school, college students feel that they have missed a lot in terms of what their degrees could have given them. Many have actually admitted that they regret not studying harder, having prioritized parties over grades.
5. Not Studying Abroad
It’s quite common for college graduates to think that they haven’t tried anything new in their lives when they confine themselves to their local community school, and only realise they could have gone abroad when it’s too late. Studying abroad develops out-of-the-box thinking, and it makes you more independent and an open-minded person. Even if you don’t have the financial support you need to study abroad, make sure you surround yourself with people who have different things to teach you. People from different cultural backgrounds will help you learn about the world and develop a different mindset.
4. Not Making Friends/Maintaining Many Friendships
When you finish college, you find yourself regretting not having made many friends or not working on developing long-lasting relationships. The moment you realise that is when you attempt to connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn but they don’t even recognise you. Keeping friendships is important, not only while you are in college but post-graduation as well. When you’re trying to reach out to people whom you know while looking for a job, you never know how much your college friends might help you out.
3. Not Managing Student Loans
A Citizens Bank study found that 77% of former college students regret not having better managed their student loan debt as much as they would have liked. Because of this, most graduates leave college feeling overwhelmed, sad, stressed out, and scared about the fact that they need to find a job and start repaying their college debt as soon as possible. A piece of advice by former students would be to plan ahead and always be in control of your finances.
2. Not Asking People for Advice
It’s a common phenomenon for college students to rely much on themselves. The freedom they have makes them feel capable of achieving what they want and they will try to do anything their own way. However, they often find themselves feeling trapped when they don’t get what they want, and even then, they hesitate to ask their mentors or professors for advice. But these people are there to help you out, and you should make the most of their help while it is available.
1. Not Getting Enough Work Experience
The biggest regret of college graduates is not getting enough work experience in their field of studies. After college, most of them realise that having gained experience is a huge asset as it puts them in a better position to get the kind of job they want. As such, a combination of studying and working or even job shadowing would have prepared them better for the world of work.
See Also: The Best College Majors to Study in 2018
Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center released a 2014 report identifying the top four regrets of college graduates:
- Gaining more work experience (50%)
- Studying harder (38%)
- Looking for work sooner (30%)
- Choosing a different major (29%)
So, if you or your friends haven’t attended college yet, make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you in order to avoid having these regrets later in life. Besides, you know what people say: we often regret the chances we didn’t take rather those we did – so seize the day and enjoy student life as much as you can for as long as it lasts.
How about you? Have you been to college? Is there anything that you regret about? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below!