17 Things I Regret Not Doing In College
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17 Things I Regret Not Doing In College

Freshmen, listen up so you don't make the same mistakes I did.

17 Things I Regret Not Doing In College

Well, it's that time of year again...time to go back to school! It's time we say goodbye to the endless beach days and hello to the unbearably hot classrooms as we start the countdown already for winter break. For some people, they're already anticipating the first day back at school with a backpack filled with new school supplies and a killer outfit ready to show off. But for others, their first day back begins before school starts as they pack up all of their belongings and move into their dorm rooms. I used to be like those people, but this year it's all changed. And let me tell you, I'm having a hard time adjusting.

I'm someone who doesn't necessarily do well when it comes to change, especially when it's pretty drastic. After having the same routine of packing and moving back to school for the past four years and now not having that anymore, it's a big deal for me. I've said this many times but I'll keep saying it because it's true: nobody really tells you exactly how hard it is once you graduate. And I'm not just talking about trying to find a job and basically starting your "new life" as a semi-adult now, but knowing you're not going back to school like everyone else is pretty difficult for someone who never wanted to believe it would or could ever happen.

Now that I've graduated, I've tended to look back at my time at college and if I'm being honest, there wasn't much that I did. I think we all have this sort of perception that college would be a time to reinvent ourselves. Where we finally get to meet the person we've so badly wanted to become but it just took some time to get there. I can't say I didn't like college because I did. It was the first time in my life where I got to be completely independent and learn to do things on my own. But at the same time I also reverted back to my old ways and because of that, there are plenty of things I regret not doing during my time there. So, for all you freshman about to enter college for the first time and everyone else who still has time before they graduate, here are 17 things I regret not doing in college that I hope you get to do or at least try.

1. Joining clubs

Besides having the incredible opportunity of joining Odyssey, I never joined anything else. Every time there would be sign-ups for clubs out on the quad or in the student union I never went to them. Even when there were clubs I really wanted to join and be a part of, there was always this resounding voice inside my head telling me not to bother or my shyness getting in the way. If I could do it over I would've joined a handful of clubs.

2. Playing a sport

When I was in high school I played volleyball the entire four years and I had this plan that I would continue to play when I was in college. In fact, I based my college choices on ones that had Division III volleyball, meeting with the coaches, even staying overnight with one of the players and getting a feel for what life would be like once I started playing. I have to admit that that was one of the biggest regrets I have. Not just choosing not to play but picking colleges revolving around a sport. I immediately closed myself out to so many other colleges because of it. My advice to you is to make sure you're more than a hundred percent determined to play a sport but always keep your options wide with colleges and don't settle on only a few.

3. Internships

I CANNOT stress this enough: please, please, please start doing internships as soon as you can. Because if you don't do any during the semesters or even during the summer and think you'll still be able to find jobs easily after you graduate you're wrong. I never did any and I'm struggling and even people who have done quite a few are still struggling. No matter the hours, no matter if it doesn't pay, no matter if it's not that great, stick it out because having that kind of experience will help you in the long run.

4. Getting out of my shell more

I've always been a shy person and I told myself I would try to get out of my comfort zone more once I went to college. And even though I'm proud of how far I did come with being more open, I wish I wouldn't have waited until my senior year to have started. If you're having trouble coming out of your shell, do everything you can to push through it.

5. Making new friends

Again, it wasn't until halfway through my senior year that I made some pretty amazing friends (shout out to everyone at Odyssey). But I wish I was one of those people that became best friends with my roommate or even my suite mates but that's not what happened. Part of it was my fault, I chose to stay in my dorm room with my door shut and never interact with anyone. Having social anxiety didn't make it any easier, especially when people automatically assumed you were a snob or some freak who never left their room unless to eat or go to class or use the bathroom. Also, having gone to a college where so many people from my high school went to made it that much harder to make new friends because I became too comfortable knowing I had them to always rely on. It wasn't until those same people didn't want to be friends with you anymore did I realize how alone I was and how desperate I was to have a friend or even someone to always have to talk to in my classes. Don't wait until those friends drop you, start making new friends right away no matter how hard it is.

6. Failing

I got my first ever C in a class my first year of college. From that moment on I forced myself to put all of my time and effort into making sure I did exceptional in all of my classes. I was never someone who failed, I always did well in school. Having that happen to me and right when I started college made me feel absolutely terrified. I ended up switching my major to something else because I thought since I didn't do well in that class for that major, how could I possibly pass all the other classes I needed to take for that major. Although I don't regret for one second changing my major, I do regret how I reacted with getting a grade like that. The truth is, we're going to fail once in a while in our lives and it's not a big deal and it's going to be okay.

7. Participating in more of my schools events and activities

Most of the time when an event or activity around school was happening, I always made the excuse of saying I had too much work to do. But then I'd end up going back to my room and watch Netflix for the rest of the night, completely avoiding the work and event. Despite having done and gone to some of them, it would only be if I had a friend to go to them with. I tend to think if I had ended up going to some of the ones I wanted to go to by myself I still would've had a good time. But I had it set in my mind that unless I knew someone was going I wouldn't even go. Please don't do this, you'll end up missing out on a lot of things and making memories.

8. Taking a fun class instead of always focusing on the classes I needed to take

The whole idea I had of college was I needed to be on a strict schedule and follow a certain path and have a strategic plan in order to graduate on time, especially when our school has a bad reputation for not graduating on time, I didn't want to fit that statistic. So I made sure to double and triple check every semester when I'd make my schedule that I was right on track and maybe if I had some extra time left over I could fit a "fun" class to make up for my classes for my major, but that rarely happened. Yes, there is nothing wrong with wanting to stay on track and take the classes you need. But it's just as fine as taking that fun class instead of a required class once in a while too.

9. Going out more and exploring what's outside my school

Having lived in Providence, Rhode Island for the past four years, I can't say that I got the full experience of living the city life and taking full advantage of it. Growing up in a small town, I always wanted to get at least a little far away from it and be in the city for once. There was so much around my school and so many places to go that I never got the chance to do because I never gave myself the chance to do it. It's one thing to get away from your hometown. But if you don't actually experience the new place where you're at, is it really getting away or just sticking to what you know? If you have the opportunity to go out and do something, do not hesitate.

10. Studying abroad

Out of all the things I've listed so far, this is by far the one I regret the most. I always imagined what it would be like to have the opportunity to learn about a certain country while being in that country itself. To be submerged in the culture, having to learn a new language in order to get around and be able to adapt quickly to the change. Even though I do still plan to travel one day, it would've made it that much better knowing I was able to do it while being in school. If you ever get the chance to study abroad, do it. Because you'll have extreme jealousy of seeing all your friends pictures on your Instagram feed of them doing exactly what you wished you could've done.

11. Not caring what people think about you

I'm someone who prides herself in trying to not let certain things or people get to me. It took a long time for me to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like you and there's nothing you can do to change that. Had I realized this when I first started college, I think I would've been able to do most of this stuff on the list. Don't let the thought of other peoples opinions of you get in the way of doing what you want to do.

12. Going to parties

This may not be for everyone and I understand. Some people choose not to party during college while others do and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And people, regardless of what they decide to do, should not be judged or shamed for what they chose to do and to not do while in college. In my opinion and with my own personal experience while in college, I wish I had gone to more parties. Not even to drink, but to just be surrounded by people, giving me a better chance to make friends. To be able to let loose for once instead of always having been locked up in my room focusing on school work all the time. I always went home Thursday nights because I worked during the weekend, so I missed out on most of the parties and even opportunities to go out. It wasn't until the last semester of my senior year did I go to clubs and drink and dance and finally let go of that stressed out person for even a few hours. It felt good, I just wish it started earlier. So go to parties and have fun, but always remember to be responsible.

13. Taking advantage of living on campus more

Living on campus was the first time I ever lived somewhere besides at home. I didn't have any obligations or chores or rules that needed to be followed. I learned how to grow up fast and make my own rules and have responsibilities that I never needed to worry about before. Although I loved that, I spent a lot of time alone in my room. I didn't branch out or do much while living on campus. I think I just liked the idea of knowing that when I came back from my classes for the day I had my own room to go back to that was mine and I didn't have to go back home. But the times I did go home, which was every weekend, there were times I didn't want to go back because it would be the same routine of coming back from classes, maybe stopping to get something to eat and then spending the rest of the night in my room. If you plan on living on campus, make sure you have things to do like hanging out with friends, doing activities or even going to the gym.

14. Asking for help when I needed it

I never liked raising my hand in class to answer a question because I always feared that I'd get it wrong. Because of this, when I found that I was having trouble with something, I never asked for help with it. So I ended up stressing out about it instead of going to a classmate or the teacher for help. I thought it was teaching me how to do things on my own without needing anybody. But the truth is, I was only making it harder for myself. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, we're human, we're not suppose to know everything. Because if we did then we wouldn't need to be in college in the first place.

15. Going away for Spring break

I spent my Spring break working every year because I decided that making money was more important than making unforgettable memories instead. Little did I realize that once you do graduate, you'll be working for the rest of your life, trying to make enough money to get you through. So take the time to enjoy life before reality hits and have fun instead of wanting to grow up too fast,

16. Being fiercely independent

I'm not going to lie, being away from home and my town gave me a chance to start reinventing myself the way I wanted to be seen and known for. I no longer hovered under a stereotype from my high school days and I could start over with a clean slate in a new city and a new school. But one thing that was hard to get used to was how to go from depending on others to only depending on yourself. I can't say I didn't learn to be independent, I've come a long way since high school that that girl wouldn't even recognize this new one. But to say I was completely and fiercely independent? I wouldn't go that far. Learn to do things on your own and not having to rely on people all the time, it really sets you up for the future.

17. Not wanting it to go by slow

When high school ended, I complained about how slow it went. When I was still in high school, I talked about how much I couldn't wait to get out and go to college already. But then once I got to college, I realized that maybe I waited for this to happen and talked it up so much, only to be utterly disappointed in the end. So I spent those four years impatiently waiting for it to go by so I could start my next adventure and see where my life would take me next. However, now that I'm out of college and still completely uncertain about my future still, I miss college a lot. It was so much easier then and I don't know what I thought thinking I was ready to make it in the world right away, because it's not going the way I planned. Please, even when you've had enough and you don't feel like you can take anymore, don't wish for college to go by fast.

Please don't make the same mistakes I did or wait to do it all the last semester before you graduate. Go out and live because believe me, it may not seem like it now, but this will all eventually end. Do you really want to look back at your time at college and have nothing to talk about?

Enjoy it now, because it's happening. Because the things we regret the most are the things we wished we had done.

And when I do go back to grad school, I won't take that second chance of redemption for granted.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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