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Five Things “I Wish I Did in College”

May 07, 2010 By: Category: Alumni advice, College Tips

I’m not one for regrets. Personally, I believe we all have a pattern in life. As for wishes, a favorite musician of mine, Eric Bogle, sings, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets into the sea.” We are all granted opportunities in life (sometimes they are disguised as problems) but if you sit around wishing for things, you’ll likely just continue to sit around. Still, you’ll often hear college graduates, especially those involved in a job search, talking about the things they wish they had done in college. So, with this in mind, I’ve put together a list of five important things you’ll want to consider before embarking on the next four years.


Photo by Velkr0

1. Get involved – whether you were very active in high school or not, now is the time to really get involved in your school and education. College is all about going in the direction you’ve chosen. Your college years should amount to more than just going to classes and studying. You’ll achieve more in and after school by becoming involved in your area of interest through clubs, organizations, and developing relationships with fellow students and professors. Broaden your horizons and you’ll be more than just a well-suited candidate for a career, but the best candidate the employer meets. In addition to this, get involved with the many other things your college has to offer – events on campus, the local surrounding area, and volunteering opportunities – anything fun and positive, especially if it’s new to you! The more you do the more positive your experience will be.

2. Do something different – While you’re concentrating and preparing for your career, college offers you the chance to experience things you haven’t done before. This may be the only time you have the time to take advantage of such opportunities. Taking lessons or electives in something that strikes you as interesting or you’ve always wanted to try; studying abroad; maybe learning a second language. While it is important to develop a plan so you are continually moving forward, fresh experiences can add possible routes to the map of your future. If experiencing something new changes you and your direction forever, consider it an opportunity seized – one wish granted!

3. Don’t over indulge – Yes, college is about freedom and fun. Yet, freedom comes with responsibility. No one will be there to tell you to study and your professors aren’t going to write you up for cutting class. If you party too much rather than doing your work, your grades and body will suffer. If you eat too much junk, your figure will suffer too. While all work and no play will certainly make you a dull college student, all play and no work can end your college experience or cause you to take much longer to graduate. Both scenarios have significant financial consequences.

4. Don’t be a college zombie – Put serious thought into why you are in college. Think about the major you have chosen or plan to choose. Why are you making this choice? True success derived from your college degree will only come if you pick a course of study you truly desire. Don’t choose your major solely due to career prospects or pressure from family and friends. Remember, this is about your future. Your college years shouldn’t be about going through the motions, it should be about exciting learning and enlightenment because you love your subject, not memorization and the fulfillment of requirements.

5. Be Youthful – Above all, do this. It sums up the other four points….just be youthful. You’re only young once, so don’t waste it. Most young people have the advantage of health, energy, and few serious responsibilities. Your college campus is like a magical realm that you’ve been granted a limited time to live within. Take advantage of all it has to offer. Become better at what you already are and enriched by what you’ve never experienced before. Enjoy the moment without getting stuck in it — enjoy your social life while keeping an eye on your academic and professional goals. If you’re able to do this, you’ll not only look back fondly on your college experience but you’ll be enjoying what it helped you to achieve.