There always reaches a time, in any journey, when you realize that there are more days behind you than there are ahead. Whatever step it may be in your life, it no longer exists in the glowing dream of a journey before you. Instead, it’s wrapped up in memories, in the little moments that define your past. Only a lucky few can live with no regrets. For most of us, what-ifs and could-have-beens litter our pasts.
I have two months until I graduate University. I’ve been both ecstatic and destitute, sure of myself and so very, very lost here. I’ve been able to feel content studying alone in my room, and desperately alone while in a room full of people. I’ve slowly transitioned to my last year of university, where I feel like nothing has changed and yet, when I look back, everything is different.
I can’t say that my time here has been lived out to the fullest, or that I can look back without regrets. I have, however, gained in university the kind of wisdom that can only be garnered through experience.
1. If given the chance, jump at the opportunity to study abroad.
The biggest regret I have is not having challenged myself to study abroad. The real world doesn’t really give you an opportunity like this without any consequences or limitations, so take advantage of it while you can. Spend time in a foreign country, eat a different cuisine, learn about a new culture. This is one of the best experiences you can have in college.
2. But travel however you can.
I spent most of my time in university either in school and looking for a job, or sulking about school and looking for a job. I should have spent my breaks jetting off to Spain, cruising in the Caribbean, or scarfing down sushi in Japan. Even if you don’t have the resources to travel, you should consider working part-time to save money, or borrowing money from your parents. Do whatever it takes to do as much travelling as you can, while you can.
3. Get involved in campus activities.
Join the archery club. Or the African society. Or magic club. Or any cool group that teaches you something new and exciting. University is all about finding yourself and experiencing new things. Don’t be afraid to stray a little from all of the other keeners, and join something other than the Pre-law Society, Finance Association, or Debate Club.
4. Don’t take your strong, young stomach for granted.
Eat out at all of the dirty, cheap local restaurants while your body still lets you. This is something I definitely did not miss out on, and both the scale and my wallet certainly reflect it. But the truth is, you’re going to look back and remember laughing with friends over a plate of greasy fries, not the $2 you saved by eating at home.
5. Actually give a damn about the ‘college’ part of college.
Study. This is the final lesson: GPA matters. Whether it’s to impress employers or get into your choice of graduate school, remember what you’re really there for.
Get ready for the roller coaster ahead of you, because the next four years are going to be full of ups, downs, and loop-de-loops. You’re going to make so many right choices, and even more wrong ones. But somehow, miraculously, you’re going to end up where you’re supposed to be.