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Friday, July 12, 2024

Graduating seniors share their biggest college regrets

Tips for making the most of your undergraduate experience 


By CORALIE LOON — arts@theaggie.org


No one wants to have regrets. At the same time, as a newly admitted freshman, the idea that you still have your entire college experience to do the things you want to do can sometimes overpower your will to do those things. And, next thing you know, you’re being handed a diploma and saying goodbye to the world you feel like you just entered.

So what does it really mean to make the most of your college experience? And do most students do everything they want to, or do they walk away wishing things were different?

According to one survey of recent college graduates, most students surveyed reported having no regrets, and those with regrets most commonly mentioned student loans, areas of study or the ability to network. Another source cited common college regrets as not getting enough work experience, not making or maintaining enough friendships and not traveling or studying abroad.

Many of these examples point to regrets that aren’t tied to academic success. Few graduating seniors seem to think they didn’t study enough, but many feel they didn’t try hard enough in other areas.

Kai Uchio, a fourth-year environmental science and management major, shared his college regrets.

“I wish that I had applied for more internship and job opportunities and communicated with TAs and professors more,” Uchio said.

Work experience, in fact, is the regret Career Addict puts in the #1 slot. With school and student jobs taking up so much time, it’s no wonder career-related work experience is difficult to prioritize. Talking with more people and expanding social horizons, however, is something that may require less time to achieve.

“I would tell myself that professors aren’t so scary and you should get used to going out of your comfort zone to talk to people,” Uchio said when asked what advice he would give to his freshman self.

Bella Masterson, a fourth-year psychology and human development double major, shared her regrets as well.

“I think what I regret is not making more connections and putting effort into meeting new people and trying new things,” Masterson said.

While Masterson was busy studying and gaining work and internship experience, she said she wished she had participated more socially and joined on-campus clubs.

“I think I tend to stick to what I know, but college is a great time to try new things because there are so many opportunities to do that,” Masterson said.

Recent college graduate Cate Sievers also wished she had gotten out of her comfort zone more.

“I definitely regret allowing fear and anxiety to hold me back for so long,” Sievers said. “Once I learned how to overcome those obstacles it felt like a whole new part of the world was available to me. I got to meet so many wonderful people and do things I never thought I’d be capable of doing.”

Sievers, who graduated last quarter with majors in sociology and communication, believes that college is all about embracing discomfort, something that took her a while to fully embrace.

“College is a time for major self-growth, and to really allow that to happen you need to really allow yourself to explore the unknown,” Sievers said.

When asked what advice they would give themselves as college freshmen, those interviewed unanimously agreed that not letting self-doubt get in the way of new experiences was the best way to conquer fears and limit regrets.

“Choose confidence and understand the power you have,” Masterson said. “It is easy to second guess yourself and what you are capable of, but that is only selling yourself short.”

Getting out of your comfort zone could be something as big as signing up for a student-led backpacking trip or as small as giving a friendly compliment to a fellow classmate.

Whatever it is, just don’t wait until you graduate to do it.

Written by: Coralie Loon — arts@theaggie.org