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The 13 Biggest Regrets People Have About Their College Years

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature

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College is a time of learning, self-discovery, and newfound independence. It is also a time when people make questionable decisions, whether embarrassing themselves when drunk or missing out on great opportunities. We explore 13 of the biggest regrets graduates experience, some of which you may recognize yourself.

Not Getting Enough Work Experience

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The transition from academics to the professional world can be overwhelming, with many graduates feeling their academic journey needed to prepare them for the professional world adequately. Employers seek candidates with a combination of relevant skills and real-world experience. With internships, volunteering, or part-time jobs related to their field, graduates might feel prepared for the expectations and demands of professional roles. Seeking internships, volunteer opportunities, or part-time jobs related to your field is the best way to secure a job, which can be done after graduation if people don’t get experience while studying.  

Choosing the Wrong Major

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Sometimes, the connection between a major and a desired career could be clearer-cut than we think. Graduates might discover their chosen primary needs to equip them with the necessary skills or qualifications for their dream job. This mismatch can lead to feelings of frustration and a scramble to find relevant work experience or pursue additional education. They are researching career options, talking to professionals, and being fearless in switching paths if needed, which is the best way to jump on the right career path. 

Not Studying Abroad

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Immersing yourself in a new culture is a life-changing experience, which is why many college graduates report regretting not studying abroad. In today’s globalized world, employers value candidates with cultural understanding, so if you didn’t get to study abroad in college, you could explore work experience or further studies to broaden your horizons. 

Not Networking Enough

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The more connections you have, the more likely you will land your dream job. Graduates who still need to build a network might have a limited pool of opportunities and a more competitive search process.

Not Taking Advantage of Campus Resources

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From academic tutoring centers to mental health counseling services, colleges provide support systems to help students overcome challenges and thrive. Graduates who neglect these resources might have faced unnecessary academic struggles or emotional difficulties that could have been addressed with proper support.

Not Making Enough Friends

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College friendships can blossom into lifelong connections. These friends can become your professional network, offering support, referrals, and potential career opportunities after graduation. Graduates who haven’t built strong friendships might lack a network of peers on which to rely throughout their lives. 

Procrastinating Too Much

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Their rushed assignments and studying leave little time for a deep understanding of critical thinking. The quality of your work inevitably suffers when done under pressure, especially if students burn the candle at both ends. Graduates who consistently procrastinate might regret not putting in the effort to produce their best work, which may also lead to poor workplace practices. 

Not Taking Care of Your Health

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Healthy habits formed in college can benefit you for years to come, but this only happens for some college students. Takeouts, cup noodles, and lots of alcohol are on the agenda instead of vitamin-enriched salads. While eating healthily in college may have improved your concentration and study skills, there is always time to start a more nutritious diet. 

Missing Out on Classes You Were Interested In

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Focusing solely on your major can make your college experience more varied. Taking electives allows you to explore different subjects, perspectives, and ways of thinking, creating a more well-rounded and stimulating academic journey.

Not Traveling During Breaks

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Experiencing new places, trying unique foods, and meeting people from different backgrounds create memories that can last a lifetime. Graduates who skipped travel opportunities might feel their understanding of the world needs to be improved. However, there is always time and a chance to travel the world when you can take a vacation. 

Not Taking Advantage of Professor Office Hours

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Professors can offer insights and explanations beyond what’s covered in class. By attending office hours, students can gain a deeper understanding of the material, leading to improved performance on exams and assignments. Graduates who skipped office hours might have struggled academically and potentially missed out on better grades.

Not Documenting Memories

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Photos, videos, journals, or even ticket stubs serve as tangible reminders of college. They allow you to revisit specific events, recapture the moment’s emotions, and share these experiences with others. Graduates who lack these keepsakes might feel a disconnect from their college years.

Not Living in the Moment

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College is a time for forging lifelong friendships, exploring new interests, and creating lasting memories. When you’re constantly focused on the future or dwelling on the past, you might miss out on connecting with those around you and fully appreciating the present experiences. Many graduates experience this, and they are shouting out to others following their oath not to do the same. 

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