After my freshman year of college, I posted about six regrets I had and seven decisions I’d make again. Now that I’ve graduated (hopefully, I’m still waiting for it to be official), I figured I’d kind of take a look back on my college experience as a whole. For reference, I graduated from Rutgers Business School – New Brunswick with a bachelors of science in Supply Chain and Marketing Science.
Solely Relying on Rate My Professor or Word of Mouth
Let’s start this list with a minor regret. I definitely could have chosen some of my classes more smartly. In my first few years, I’d blindly believe whatever Rate My Professor or upperclassmen have said about specific courses. But here’s the thing – everyone is different, and everyone is biased.
I find Rate My Professor incredibly helpful and still stand by my advocacy of using it. But I’ve learned to take what I learn from that site with a grain of salt. You’ll notice most professors on there will either get extremely high ratings or extremely low ones. And that’s because most people only bother to rate professors when they feel passionate about them – whether they hate the professor for giving them a bad grade or love them for making the course super duper easy.
Same thing with some of the advice I got from upperclassmen. I had many of them tell me this one class was the hardest prerequisite I’d have to take in the business school. They just kept hammering that idea home. But it turns out it was one of the easier classes for me because I had prior knowledge of the course material.
My advice would be to take everyone’s opinions – from Rate My Professor, upperclassmen’s experience, and also your university’s own professor performance rating system to come up with a more well-rounded idea of what to expect from a professor or course.
Planning Out My Course Schedule Poorly
Going into college, I had a general idea of what classes I wanted to take every semester in order to fulfill all the requirements and credits I needed to graduate. I messed up. I took too many hard(er) classes at once, I jam-packed some days too densely, and I took too many credits in some semesters.
Part of it comes from not knowing what I really wanted – if I wanted to double major, taking 18 credits most semesters would be necessary. But I still ended up taking 18 credits even when I decided not to double major. Ultimately, this led me to go part-time and take only six credits in my last semester. I could have saved money and graduated a semester early if I had taken an extra class during semesters, where I had a lighter load. Or I could have saved myself some stress and evened my schedule out. But I didn’t.
Essentially I had a nasty habit of biting off more than I could chew even when I didn’t have to. If I could go back, I’d take more time to think about what classes I need to take every semester.
Not Starting My Job Hunt Sooner
This is honestly one of my biggest regrets. It’s not hard to see why – I graduated without lining up a fulltime offer. Recruitment season for full-time jobs and internships typically start late summer to early fall. The earlier you apply, the higher chance you have of getting hired. I don’t know why, but I never could seem to get my act together enough to apply during that time. Maybe because I’m the idiot who always took more credits than necessary during the fall semester (see above).
Overestimating How Much Time I Have as a College Student
Throughout my four years at college, my friends and I would make all these plans. We’d come up with fun things to do like spending a day in the City (aka New York City), but we could never seem to find the time. So we’d always push it off. “Oh, there’s always next semester.” That’s also pretty much how I approached my college bucket list. There’s nothing inherently wrong with waiting for the right time to do things. Except for one big problem.
We’re now out of semesters.
I wish I took a more proactive approach to make some more memories. I kept thinking I had more time. But then we got kicked off of campus with two months left of the semester. Some of those plans may never happen.
Staying Home Instead of Socializing
This one kind of goes with the idea of taking more time to make more memories. I’m an introvert by nature, so I’d much rather stay home to read or watch tv than go out. But now I really wish I had said “yes” when friends invited me to go eat or do things like go bowling. Especially now that I’m starting to realize I might never see some of them again in person. Some things are worth pushing your comfort zone or only getting 4 hours of sleep.
What I’d Do Again
Living On Campus in a Living Learning Community
If you can afford it, I’d definitely recommend living on campus, at least for your freshmen year. There’s just a different type of social interaction that occurs within freshmen dorms than anywhere else. People are typically more open to making friends and hanging out because you’ve all been thrown into the deep end together.
This is especially true if you live in a living-learning community. Being apart of an LLC during my freshman year helped me make a lot of friends and gain a lot of resources to help me succeed.
Getting an On Campus Job
I spent three years working at the computer labs on campus, and I loved the experience. The actual job could be a bit of a chore at times (why can’t people read signs?), but the hours were great, the pay was good, and the people (for the most part) were nice.
The thing about working on campus is that our shift schedule was dependent on the University’s. So whenever the University had breaks, so did the lab. And whenever the University decided that a Tuesday was to be treated as a Thursday, the lab did too. It made scheduling really easy so I rarely had to worry about switching or putting up shifts for coverage.
Sacrificing My GPA for a Better Class or Professor
Some of the most valuable classes I’ve taken were also some of the hardest. Sometimes the difficulty was because of the course material itself. Sometimes it was because the professor has high standards. Either way, taking those classes was worth the hit my GPA took as a result. GPA isn’t everything, but what I learned from those classes will really help me later on in life.
I honestly can’t remember much from some of the easier classes/professors I took because I just coasted through them. But the harder classes tend to stick more because they required more effort. And although some of the professors were harder, they were also much better teachers.
Sometimes it’s worth doing things the hard way.
Getting Involved on Campus
One of my regrets from my freshman year was not getting too involved on campus. So during my sophomore year, I changed that. I started as serving as a committee member on a club related to my major and eventually worked my way up to the executive vice president. It wasn’t the most glamorous position, and there were definitely times that serving on the executive board was a pain in my behind, but I’d do it all over again if I had the chance. I learned so much from my time there.