Ok, confession…I’ve had this post sitting in my “drafts” folder since FEBRUARY. I know. Every time I looked it over, I felt like it was too geeky or too personal or too college-search-self-help site-esque to publish, if that makes sense? But I’ve decided to run it this week, because 1) I’ve loved some of the more introspective posts that a few of my favorite bloggers have been posting over the past few weeks, and 2) Reunion is right around the corner (it’s this coming weekend!), and I’m feeling nostalgic. 🙂 I’ve kept the text the same as it was when I wrote it several months ago, so it isn’t totallyyyy up to date, but the sentiments remain the same!
I’m starting to plan for my 5-year college reunion (so, so pumped!) and I’m getting just a little sentimental about going back (although I’ve already been back once in 2016 to move out my sister after her freshman year, once in 2014 for our one-year reunion, and honestly should’ve gone back way more than that). On that note, here’s a little look back at what I’m thankful I did in college and what I wish I did differently (though to be honest, I’m sure the things on this list could change depending on the year/month…these are just a few I could think of at the moment!).
Things I’m glad I did:
Picked my specific major. Most of my friends in college were either bio or econ majors, and while I never felt any pressure to pursue those paths (despite being the daughter of an econ professor, oops!), sociology was still less common compared to things like government, English, and psychology. Freshman year, a friend’s (now ex) boyfriend even went as far to basically tell me that what I was studying was worthless and he couldn’t respect anyone who majored in that field (although I think he felt that way about anything that wasn’t econ or a hard science…) which was just straight up rude but didn’t really phase me because I loved what I was doing! I think I called my parents after and was like, “What just happened?!” I really appreciated how small my major was and how it didn’t necessarily draw one type of person. That said, there are totally times I wish I could go back and do something completely different, although I’m not sure what I’d choose.
Continued branching out senior year. I was texting one of my friends (who I met senior year!) the other week and was telling her that honestly, 75 percent of the people I’m close with from college and talk to on a daily/weekly basis are people I met senior year (aside from the 5 girls I’ve been close with since day one/freshman year, several of whom are pictured above!). I remember being in New York the summer before my senior year and being so excited to go back to school but also feeling terrified that I’d already “met” everyone already (not an uncommon feeling on a campus with 1,800 students). And while I loved my group of friends (I seriously miss them every day!), I kind of wondered, “what now?”
However, whether I met them in class, at our campus pub (ha!), through an extracurricular, or through a mutual friend, some of these “newer” friends–who are both guys and girls–have become my biggest champions and supporters and are people I can talk to about literally anything and have had many a tearful phone call with over the past few years. Even if you feel super comfortable among your small group, it doesn’t hurt to go outside your comfort zone a bit and branch out. Plus, these new people will likely have their own little close-knit groups, and it can be SO refreshing to meet someone who is outside of your circle and can serve as an objective sounding board on any issues going in within your little group, and vice versa!
Lived on campus. While only a small percentage of people at my college lived off campus, it was still a somewhat popular thing to do senior year (as was living in an on-campus apartment). However, I’m happy I chose my little dorm room and could eat in the dining hall every night (seriously, the things I would do to not have to buy food/cook my own dinner…). Living on campus made it easy to get around during the day and was a “luxury” that you just don’t have in real life!
As for what I regret…(um, does graduating count? I want to go baaack!):
I (kind of) wish I’d studied for the GRE while I was IN college. Taking it a couple of years later wasn’t a huge deal (plus, I was fortunate that 1) I had a work situation that was very 9 to 5 and allowed me to duck out on time to study, and 2) said work situation didn’t require any weekend assignments, which meant that I could spend entire Saturday mornings taking practice tests). However, during my senior year, I definitely had enough downtime that I could’ve studied here and there, and the material would have been more fresh (but for the sake of my social life, I’m glad I didn’t! It was much easier to turn down going to bars or hanging out with friends in “real life” than it ever was in college).
Being so hard on myself. Not necessarily in terms of school specifically, but more in terms of how much I lacked confidence in myself and worried about what other people thought. (Turns out, a lot of people felt the same way, whether they felt “stuck” portraying a certain image in a friend group or just didn’t love their time in college that much). I definitely beat myself up too many times and try to do less of that now!
Not doing more things in Maine. This seems like a dumb, cop-out answer even as I’m writing it, but I definitely could have taken more advantage of the things right in my college’s own backyard–Maine’s called Vacationland for a reason! Granted, I don’t ski/drive so I was missing out on a pretty major activity/had more difficulty getting off campus (they still don’t even have Uber in my college town!), but I wish I had done things that were even as simple as trying the ice cream place down the road before senior spring or taking a trip to Acadia. However, in the grand scheme of things, I still did a lot of stuff when I could (plus, it’s kind of like living in DC…you only do the “touristy” things when people are visiting), and as for the rest…I suppose a few more trips back are in order!