Imagine that you are a couple of years out of university. Looking back, what do you think you would have done differently? Actually, that’s not an arbitrary question. I’m posing it because it’s very likely that you will have certain regrets after graduation. The problem is that at point there will be nothing you can do about it. But right now, while you are still in school, you have an opportunity to consider any festering regrets you think you might have. And more important, you can remedy them now before they become permanent regrets later.
If you are having trouble imagining future regrets, here are some of the more common ones to help you get started.
Choosing A Different MajorDo you really like the major that you are studying right now? Or is it something of a default choice – you didn’t know what else to study, and this one looked like a good bet. Maybe it’s a major that your parents wanted you to take, or one that you followed your friends into. Any of those reasons could lead to regret later.
Think long and hard about what it is that you would like to do with your life. If you are a year or two into school, you may have a much better idea of that now than you did when you first started. If that’s the case, make the necessary changes now, and get into the major that will be a better fit for your personality and preferences.
It will be far better to make an uncomfortable change now, than to realize after the fact that you made a mistake.
Getting More Work Experience
This is usually a regret that takes place shortly after graduation, when you are unable to find a suitable job. Even as a university student, employers will likely prefer graduates with at least some kind of work experience. Relevant experience to the desired job is always preferred, but any kind of work experience could be a door opener when it comes to looking for that first career position.
If you have not worked so far, or you are not satisfied with the type of jobs that you have held, you can do something about that now. Find a part-time job that is as closely related to your major as possible. Even if it is not a glove fit, it may still give you a big advantage when you’re out looking for the real thing.
Taking On Less Debt
Increasingly, this is becoming the single biggest regret of university graduates. While you are in school, it is very easy to take loans to pay for what you can’t afford out of other financial resources. But once you graduate, the bill comes due, and that’s when you flirt with ideas of how you could have borrowed less.
Give serious thought to the amount of debt you are likely to owe once you graduate. If you feel any pangs of regret, now is the time to do what you can to lower the total. Once you graduate, it will be too late.
As suggested above, consider a part-time job, and if you already have one, look for one that is more substantial and pays more. Also consider taking summer jobs and, if you get one, a paid internship. A $1,000 here, and $1,000 there can make a significant difference after graduation, especially if you do it throughout your university career.
Building More Friendships With People In Different Majors
Apart from your education, one of the most valuable assets you’ll be taking out of university are the contacts that you made and the friendships that you built while you were there. And while it can be beneficial to have numerous university contacts in your major field of study, it can be even more valuable having as many as you can in other fields.
Once you get out into the career world, diversity of knowledge becomes more important. If you know people outside of your career field, they can be valuable assets on your job. Whenever you need resources from outside your industry, you will know who to contact. University is the time to begin building those contacts, that way you’ll have them available when you need them later.
Taking More Relevant Courses
There is often a tendency to take the lightest curriculum possible. That makes sense, since it will not only be easier, but it can also result in better grades. But it may be worth stepping outside of the norm to take certain specific courses that will help you in your career, even though they may be more challenging than the regular curriculum.
No matter what your major is, you’ll almost certainly benefit from having taken courses in finance, marketing, and nearly any having anything to do with computers and technology. Not only can those skills help you in your job, but they can also help you move up the career ladder. Employers often promote the people who have the broadest skill sets, and you can take courses now that can put you on that path.
It is common to have regrets after graduation, but do what you can now to keep those to a minimum later.