Now that I am (many) years out of college, I think back about my time and whereas I loved every second of it, there are some things that I wish I had taken advantage of. Looking back now, there are things I wish I did college that didn’t even occur to me at the time.
My college experience was great — so great I stayed longer and got my Master’s at the same school (shoutout to Fordham University, go Rams!). But there were things at the time I was worried about that I should not have been so worried about.
There were things I just did not do then that I should have done then. Whereas I did take advantage of the freedom of living alone and not having bills (or that many responsibilities honestly), I did not realize then the full power of this. It was only now that I have been working full-time and freelancing and paying bills and a mortgage, that I realize all of the things I should have done then.
We learn from each other’s life lessons, right? Here are some of mine.
4 Things I Wish I Did In College
1. I Wish I Studied Abroad
I did not study abroad and I wish I did. Coming from a Greek background, I was fortunate enough to spend a summer working in Greece, along with spending other summers visiting family and friends in Greece and Cyprus. I thought this was enough and that I did not need study abroad. This, paired with my personal family situation, held me back from studying abroad.
Now that I work full-time and need to balance PTO, I laugh at my younger self. The freedom I would have had if I studied abroad!
I would have gotten the experience of living in another country and, most importantly, to easily travel to other places over the weekends and see the world.
I have no bills or work or family responsibilities to worry about then — I easily could have traveled to a different place each weekend if I had studied abroad. But I didn’t. And whereas I made a vow to myself to go somewhere near every year, there are still many places on my list that I could have checked off if I just studied abroad.
2. I Wish I Interned At Different Types Of Place
I went into college knowing exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to major in Communications and get a job working in fundraising events and development. I interned at two different nonprofits during my time in college. And then I did just that, for five years after I graduated college.
But now I switched to doing corporate marketing… and I love it. I do not regret my time working in the nonprofit world at all, but I have a love for corporate marketing that I did not know existed.
If I had interned in both the nonprofit world and corporate world while in college, I would have had a better understanding of how each one worked and the type of experience I’d have in both.
Do not just limit yourself to one type of internship experience; internships are your time to test the waters and figure out how you thrive in different places. Do not limit yourself.
3. I Wish I Traveled More
Previously, I spoke about traveling while studying abroad above, but one other thing I realize now is that I did not have to study abroad in order to travel.
I worked part-time while in college so I did have an income coming and and I was fortunate that my parents paid for my college education. So I had the money to travel… why didn’t I? I didn’t even go on Spring Break until my senior year, and that is a regret I have. I should have taken advantage of a full week off from classes!
Minus Christmas break, getting a full week off from work does not exist unless you take PTO. College gives you this week off, as well as summers off. Use it to your advantage! I wish I did, and that I traveled more both domestically and internationally. If you do not have classes on Fridays, it’s really easy to take a long weekend, too.
4. I Wish I Was Less Serious
I wasn’t even that serious in college and I still think that I took things too seriously. Of course it’s important to study and get good grades, but you have your entire life to work, make money, and be confined to responsibility. College is your time to learn, explore, grow as a person, and discover who you are. Be serious, but do not be too serious. Have as much fun as you can.
Of course, I know I was in a situation where the above would have been possible for me and not everyone goes to college responsibility free. If you are paying your own way through college, the above may not be possible. But try your best, no matter what your situation is, to take as much advantage of things as you can. You have the rest of your life to be an adult, don’t rush it if you don’t have to.