High school seniors across the country eagerly look to June with glimmering fantasies of how glorious the next four years of their lives are going to be. Exactly four years ago, I was doing the same exact thing; but my time is now almost entirely passed. I’m sitting here writing this as a second semester senior, preparing for the next phase of my life. It is exciting in its own merit, but the spark has faded and the time for serious business inches closer, if it hasn’t already.
Reflecting upon my college experience, many fellow graduating seniors have admitted to feeling as I do: it’s been fun, I met a lot of great people, got a solid education, but I wish I did more. When upperclassmen told my freshman self that this period of time is unlike any other you’ve had before, they weren’t kidding. If I could do it over again, I would…
1. Party hard, and often
With each year that passed, the amount of partying and taking nights out on the town exponentially decreased. Go to nightclubs and burn off some of that Freshmen 15 by dancing the night away. Tag along to a house party where you don’t know anyone. Making friends is ten times easier and more fluid with alcohol consumption. And nine times out of ten, it’s not awkward the next day! Stay out until the sun rises just to say you did.
2. Study hard, but not too hard
Maybe attending a competitive school is the reason for this, but not only did I spend countless hours each week studying (especially the first two years), but I stressed out like crazy over my grades. Sometimes I cried. Today, I would tell little me to chill and go out and smell the roses—especially during exam weeks.
3. Visit high school friends at their schools
The thought of going separate ways can be depressing, but an advantage can be found in having friends who go to schools far away (or nearby). Save up some cash and take a weekend trip a couple of states away to see your hometown friend and his/her new abode. Chances are, their food will be a refreshing break from dining hall meals and pizza. Or maybe more pizza, but does anyone actually have a problem with this?
4. Study abroad—SERIOUSLY, how did I not do this?
Everyone told me to study abroad. This is probably the biggest regret I have looking back on my college years. Everyone assured me that I would regret it too. I don’t even need to make an argument as to why everyone should do this. Just stalk your abroad friends on Facebook. There’s a reason it’s also known as “the best semester.” I guess I’ll never know. #bitter.
5. Join an intramural sports team
One of the things I miss about pre-college life is participating in an athletic team. Every school has programs across all athletics, and there’s nothing quite like being a part of a team. Plus it wouldn’t have hurt to maintain an active lifestyle with all of the nutella and pretzel goldfish I was consuming.
Hindsight is hella ironic, no? I guess that’s the point: to continue making the best with what’s ahead with what we know now. Hopefully, I won’t be submitting a “What I wish I did in my mid-twenties” piece in the future.