University Regrets: What I Wish I Did & How to Avoid My Mistakes

Happy New Year! 

What better way to start the year by reminiscing and hopefully inspiring? It has been 4 years since I graduated from university with my first degree. Looking back, I realized that there were a few things I definitely missed out on or “regretted”.

First off, university life is different for everyone. Some of you may read this and be like “so what did you actually do in university?” (hence the regrets). It was a new experience for me and I didn’t actually get into it until maybe around my second year. My first focus was to study the books, that’s also the reason why my GPA was at its highest in my first year. Anyway, we’re not trying to live with these regrets forever, so we’ve learned our lessons and actively put ourselves in situations to LEVEL UP! However, it’s always good to share your experiences so others may benefit from them.

With all that being said, let’s get into it (in no particular order)…..

1/ Doing a Study Abroad Program

I’m only now realizing how beneficial this could have been for me so I hope you think of it as an option if you’re still pursuing studies. Side note: this is also possible if you’re not currently enrolled in university. I don’t fully know the specifics but there’s the internet! Also, a fellow blogger, Gabby Beckford posts a lot about opportunities and grants for study abroad programs, internships and different experiences. Yes, back to the study abroad regret. I actually believe fear stopped me in this situation because I vaguely remember my school having a fair or event to showcase the different programs available. Therefore, I did have access to the information, but I never registered. 

How does a study abroad program benefit you? Not only do you get to travel to another country but you also get to see the world from a different point of view, experience a new culture, or learn a new language. Advice: Check out your school’s website or student center for more information on these opportunities.

My study abroad experience was more like an internship. I majored in Spanish at the UWI STA and after Year Two, three of us were chosen to do an exchange at a partner University in Bogotá, Colombia for a year as English Teaching Assistants. As you can imagine my Spanish improved dramatically. I came back to UWI and final year was a breeze! It really helped train my ear and improve my comprehension. Even more importantly, that year in Colombia was life changing. I never had a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life but teaching English helped me link my love for languages and travel. I realised I could make a living teaching English abroad, see the world and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives and that’s what I’ve been doing since I graduated with my BA Spanish in 2016.

Aneakaleigh (@Astridoxford)

2/ Making Stronger Connections

Hope ya’ll saw how I phrased that title. We know from watching TV shows that there is always a close-knit group of friends in college or people finding their soulmate. College wasn’t anything like that for me and I’m sure it’s not for everyone. However, there are some connections you can make which may just be beneficial to you in the long run. Whether it’s connecting with your professor, people from different countries or people you meet through internships etc.

Advice: become more involved in campus life, make meaningful relationships with professors or get a mentor, use the opportunity to network at school or club events.

School Club Trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park

3/ Travelling MORE

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t link this with the first reason, but hear me out first. If you’re lucky enough to attend a university out of state or country, please use this advantage to see more of anywhere. I did a few road trips with friends or school clubs, but there definitely could have been more exploring and catching flights! As a reminder, I was in the USA and I am pretty sure interstate flights were less than $100, what was I doing?! You literally have all the time in the world (while on vacation) to travel more in university with half of the responsibilities. I know it may not be feasible for everyone, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

Advice: Use your time wisely and budget travel. Even if it’s simply exploring the town/city you’re in. Do something different.

4/ Minoring in a Subject Unrelated to my Major

Literally in my last semester of university I had the grand idea that I should minor in something. I can’t remember why I started to consider it, but my options were still related to my major. However, four years later I’m wondering what would have happened if I minored in a subject unrelated to my major. Now that I’ve picked up blogging, a minor in creative writing, digital media or marketing communication wouldn’t have been a bad choice. To me, having a minor in another subject unrelated can open doors for new opportunities, serve as an outlet for you or even a back-up plan to a career in your major field.

Half way through my Bachelors degree, I realized that accounting wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do for “the rest of my life”; but changing my major at that point proved to be complicated. So instead, I opted to pick up a minor in a field that I had always loved – Political Science. Most times people choose minors that align with their majors, but I feel like that defeats the purpose. It was important for me to do something different and create another avenue for myself. I can’t emphasize how much balance this minor brought to my college life. When I got tired of crunching numbers, I got to write powerful essays and it was exactly what I needed to make it through. However, I am content with my decision to do a minor because that door is always open and the knowledge I gained has proven useful in understanding the dynamics of real-life politics today.

Taythetravelista

5/ Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family

I definitely had to use a gif here, because that’s really my mood. I’m not even going to attempt to come up with an excuse as to why I failed miserably at this. I did lose a few friends, and maybe it was just meant to be. Between the time differences, trying to get comfortable on your own, school life etc it may be a lot to manage but TRY to make the effort to. 

Advice: Set up schedule, decide what time or day works best for you and call them then (e.g. Sundays at 5 p.m.). Let your friends know of your schedule so they know what to expect, even a heads up message if you’re busy or studying should be better than going ghost. But friends, if the person does go ghost for a few days, find a way to understand what they’re going through.

6/ Study something you ACTUALLY LIKE

Okay, I know what the blog title says but this doesn’t 100% relate to me. I also know you know someone who fits this criteria or heard about them, so let’s not judge. University is going to take at least 3-6 (or more) years of your life depending on your field of study. Do you want to be doing something you don’t like for that long? Yeah in the long run the money may be good, but is that all that matters?

Advice: If you don’t know what you like start with an undecided major, do some electives and get a feel of the different subjects. If it’s the case where you know what you want to do, but that’s not what your family wants you to do…wellll talk it out and hopefully they understand or come to a compromise.

That’s all I got, if you could relate to any of the points mentioned above feel free to drop a comment and share your experience. If there’s an additional regret that you may feel, share your experiences as well. To those who are still in university, good luck this semester and I hope you won’t have any regrets in the long run!

7 thoughts on “University Regrets: What I Wish I Did & How to Avoid My Mistakes

  1. Great Piece; Networking and stepping out of my comfort zone were probably the best things I took from college. The lifelong relationships I’ve built and confidence has proven invaluable in recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think 6 is the key reason I ended up getting to do my exchange programme in the first place! When I first started out at the UWI STA I was doing something I had an interest in but I didn’t LOVE it. That made all the difference and fortunately the switch led me to where I am today! Great post! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m currently in University, I want to stress that networking is key, building relationships with faculty is very important and will take you far. Find classmates who share the same passion as you as well as motivate you to be your best self. Great post Ali! Hope I don’t have any regrets after I graduate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My regret is certainly not getting more involved in campus life. I commuted for all of my time at UWI since I didn’t live that far away. Most of the time I was taking public transport then walking home which isn’t the safest or easiest thing to do after dark so I always left immediately after class. Because of that I think I missed out on a real college experience and I could’ve formed more lasting friendships, but oh well. I still feel as if my horizons and scope of thinking were broadened regardless which is the main purpose of college (besides getting your major ofc), but if I had to do college again, I wouldn’t have always used that as an excuse but actually take part in things.

    Liked by 2 people

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