Welcome to the second post from my How To College Better series in which I share tips and tricks to help with surviving college (well, better than I did anyway). Last week, I shared a list of digital tools that ease the burden of college and learning online. Be sure to check it out for some useful resources to utilise in your studies.
Today, I thought I would share some regrets from college. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t things that plague me at night. I’m quite content with the way my college journey went. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge some of the mistakes I wouldn’t make if I had to do it all over again. And, of course, I’m sharing them as inspiration for current victims of academia to do what I couldn’t – avoiding these major college don’ts:
1. Skipping classes
Other than falling ill or an emergency, it’s definitely never a good idea to skip class. I’m so glad I’m out of college so I don’t have to be total hypocrite for saying that. I sucked at attending lectures and when I did, I was late 8 out of 10 times. I regret how much extra work that always gave me. I was constantly needing to catch up and most of my exam season cram sessions were because I had to learn and revise at the same time. I really could have ensured myself a lighter load if I’d just gone to those boring classes.
2. Procrastinating too much
Oh, how I wish I’d kept on top of my assignments and study requirements. It was not uncommon to find me finishing essays the day they were due or cramming right up until being ushered into the exam hall. It was a hot mess! If you’re like me, please read this post on how to beat procrastination so your college experience isn’t as stressful as mine was.
3. Emotional spending
One of the worst habits I had during college was emotional spending, especially comfort eating and stress drinking. Performing below my expectations? Better get a takeaway and a drink to drown my sorrows. Thrilled I just got a nightmare school task out of the way? Better get a takeaway and a drink to reward my efforts. No wonder I’m still trying to learn financial literacy. It’s important not to use your wallet to deal with your emotions. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much money but more than that, I wish I had contended with my emotions sooner rather than burying them under chicken masala and wine.
4. Not maintaining a fitness regime
Trust a break up to make me turn to fitness. After I got burned, I started attending aerobics classes and found myself at the gym no less than three times a week. But alas, I eventually stopped going and I didn’t even try to work out at home. I definitely wish I’d maintained an active lifestyle. Frequent exercise made me feel amazing physically and mentally. I’m currently getting into yoga so that I can start reaping the benefits I let go of while pursuing my degree.
RELATED: 7 Reasons to Start Yoga
5. Not preparing well
There are so many ways to prepare for school that can drastically improve one’s academic experience. I’ve even blogged about it before. Despite an awareness of the value of prepping, I regularly failed to do it adequately. I’m still improving on making my days more efficient through planning and the effort it’s taking to achieve this makes me wish I’d started sooner.
6. Spending too much time with the wrong people
I’m an adult and I was throughout college so, ultimately, I hold myself accountable for the highs and lows I was responsible for manifesting. However, it would be a lie if I didn’t admit that the influence of some characters had a negative impact on several aspects of my life. One of the biggest lessons I learned during college is that it’s incredibly important to surround yourself with people who support you and push you to do your best. Eliminating ne’er-do-wells from my life freed and protected me from unhealthy bonds. Don’t underestimate the power of your closest circle to bring chaos or peace in your life. Don’t stay close to people who are bad for your well-being.
7. Sidelining my creative passions
I made no secret of the fact that, in my opinion, school held me back when it came to writing, blogging and creating. However, I know now that I could have done much more if I’d been strategic about my priorities and creative desires. I wish I’d managed my time and emotions better so that I’d experience the fulfilment from creating that I do now.
8. Not joining clubs or societies
I had about three friends in college and one of them was my cousin (by way of our mums, who are best friends). I kept to myself far too much and didn’t participate in official extracurriculars. Clubs and societies don’t just add enrichment to one’s college experience, they also provide an opportunity to get to know people who you share interests with; people who could even help you later in life. I wish I’d taken advantage of those opportunities to interact with others more.
9. Poor school-life balance
Based on my regrets so far, it should be no surprise that I struggled with striking a balance between college and other aspects of my life. I tended to do too much. When I was avoiding school, I overdid it. When I did focus on school, I overdid that too. A healthy lifestyle is important not just for college but our personal lives and well being. I can’t quite say I’ve mastered balancing things now but I definitely know my college experience would have been better if I’d possessed the boundaries I do now.
10. Being unhealthily invested
I never actually wanted to go to college but it was important to my mum. She lives in a different country and we haven’t seen each other in person in over half a decade. Performing well was a priority for me because of how happy it made her. I still think that was a good goal; however, I took it to extreme lengths by guilt-tripping myself constantly until school just became a scary thing I had to get through. The sourest part is I realised too late that she didn’t even care how I passed, just that I did. College is important but your mental well-being is crucial too. I wish I’d taken that more seriously.
So there we are: ten major mistakes not to make in college. Are you guilty of any of the things I did? This is a safe space, be sure to commiserate with me in the comments!