Based on the title you probably figured that I am no longer in College, some of us ERM’s are past those years, but find that’s important to discuss our mistakes, what we would have done differently in those years because those are the years that build a foundation for the future.
I have had the pleasure of attending two colleges one for my bachelor’s and one for my masters, both very different experiences. There is so much I feel I would do differently; I feel going for my bachelors was one big fuzz due to a variety of reasons. I didn’t exactly have the best environment to learn growing up and I didn’t have the best people in my life to provide me the guidance I needed.
Thinking back here are areas I would want to focus on:
1. Be Organized
I would learn to be more organized in both instances as I was never really the type to create flashcards, highlight my books in a ray of colors, I attempted to memorize what I studied the best I could.
I really didn’t have a study plan or really a great place to study, as I had a room which allowed me not to be disturbed. At this time I felt it would have been helpful to formulate a plan to keep things in order.
2. Have a Social Life
I was always an Introvert, Shy and quite content being alone, but I feel I really missed out in those years by not building better connections and friendships. I was naïve and really at a depressive state in college so I feel I was not worthy to have friends and in my mind I felt who would want to spend time with me.
I remember vividly I would sometimes go to clubs by myself, eat alone at restaurants, spending time going to the movies alone, shopping alone, well you get the point. I would get invited by others but usually refused because again I felt unworthy to be in their presence.
3. Work Off Campus
Working on campus sounds nice and it is, but you never leave the campus you see the same people day in and day out. I pretty much lived on my campus, went to school and worked there.
I did have some seasonal jobs off campus but those end and then I went back to working on campus. I wish I would have attempted to work Full time during my college years at least to manage working, gain needed skills in the workforce and make more money.
I usually encourage students to really focus on their studies and its perfectly fine to work but don’t let the interfere with school. I now I say that it’s perfect acceptable to work full time and go to school if you can manage. I lost out on opportunities I feel while not working full time during college.
4. Discover What You are Good At
Going to college right out of High school was probably a mistake, I feel I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate the importance of college and what to learn. Yes in High school they always discussed what you want to be when you grow up, but never really discovered what I wanted.
I did dabble in subjects eventually choosing Business as a major but feel that was a mistake for me. I always loved Art, and later in my adult years had an appreciation for computer programming. Deep down I knew there were certain subjects I was not brightest at but felt I could have a talent for creative arts. That is why I write now because of the love of writing.
5. Learn To Say No
I was always the Yes man to anything and everything when people asked me, Hey Joe can I borrow $10 bucks. Hey Joe can you can you do this favor for me? It was endless at times, looking for the attention of others but became a doormat for others.
By learning to say No I would have learned to have more freedom, learned to build boundaries with friends and family. There is nothing wrong with saying NO even though others will cause us to feel like we are in the wrong.
6. Save Money
College Life is expensive in most cases we pick up the habit of eating out a lot because of the convenience, not taking a sack lunch. Due to eating out a lot so does the weight gain from all the garbage I was eating. I did live at home during college, but breakfast and lunches were devoted to outside food.
Even today I could only imagine how much I have spent at my favorite fast food restaurant’s. Learn to prepare lunches at home or in the dorm and take them with you, be disciplined. There is nothing wrong with eating out, but keep it to a minimal like the weekends, saving you money. In todays culture Coffee is more popular than fast food, luckily for me I wasn’t into coffee until my late twenties.
7. Go To The Gym/Exercise
I was Oblivious going to the gym, it was not a habit I was taught growing up, that is probably why I struggle with depression because I didn’t have that physical release to go too often cooped up in my room watching TV or studying.
Now a days the gym is a life saver for me, I go regularly, weight lift, cardio, sauna, the who nine yards and feel better for it. This is something I would have needed back then.
To this day I have never been out of the country, a regret I have to this day, hopefully one day I can change that. I see students today traveling abroad for a week, two, three, even a few days I was always too afraid to leave.
Money was also a factor of traveling abroad, but even I wish I had travelled locally on my own. I say if you can travel to your hearts content, travel the world if you can and have the funds to do so.
9. Find A Hobby
Hobbies are important which allow us to have fun, I really wish I had focused more on my writing back then, where I would be today if I had. I also always loved Trains or what’s called model railroading, Deep sea fishing, car racing, the list could go on, but again I was just too stuck in my own funk to force myself to have those hobbies.
I highly encourage you to pick a hobby something you love to do, maybe for you it’s Golf, ATV’s, Video games, whatever it may be do it, it will allow you release stress, have fun allowing you to be more focused.
10. Spend Time With Family
During my college years although I lived at home, I really didn’t spend time with them, I was out, going to the movies, shopping, coming home late, I really didn’t want to spend time with mom and dad, but wish I had. Although I didn’t have the be relationship with family, I regret not building those memories in those years.
I know we spend all our life with our mom and dad or main parent but when you get older many times you want to break free, let loose but in the process our parents and family get left behind. Spend time with them because you really don’t know how long they will be around.
Think About it…
The list could probably go on, but I think you may get the point and some of these points may not apply to you. I encourage you to really find those things in your life you know you may regret late in life for not focusing on. I know at this point in your life you may say well I happy the ways things are, I am balanced and ok, in that case that is great!
You have the ability to make a plan when you are young, I know it sounds cliché but when you are older with a family, kids, wife, husband, responsibility it gets increasingly more difficult not impossible, so really start planning now and those dividends will pay off later that is a promise.