“If you could do it all over, would you change anything?”
A question I’ve thought a lot about since graduating, and a question I finally answered for myself on a Friday night as I was painting my nails.
See, high school prepares you for college. The things you learn, the people you encounter, the situations you’re put in; it all prepares you for the big, scary world of undergrad life.
But college, that too prepares you for something bigger- the next chapter- the real world.
The “I wishes”
I look back on my college career and man, there are SO many things I wish I had done differently. From dating someone or not, to taking a certain class, to picking roommates, to picking majors, to doing clubs and activities- there is just so much.
Up until this point, the I wishes drove me crazy. I thought to myself “if only I could go back in time, maybe this would be different”.
Then, I realized that you can’t live your life with regret, and you can’t sit there and wonder what would’ve happened if you lived here instead of there, if you took that class earlier, or if maybe you would’ve moved to Texas.
Then finally, I thought to myself….
“That’s the point”
In college, you’re not supposed to get everything right and everything in your life is also not supposed to go right.
Friendships end so new ones can begin, majors change so you can discover something better, more interesting, and maybe, more you. It’s what we can take away from it all that really matters.
Learning is not just in the classroom
Things happen in our 4 years of college life so we can learn from them. At the end of it all we either say to ourselves “wow this worked out badly, I’ll never do this again” or “wow this actually turned out great, I’m so happy I did this” about every situation we go through. Either way, you walk away knowing that at least you tried, because at the end of the day- you won’t go your whole life thinking “what if”.
In college, you might get knocked down a few pegs at some points, and built up a few at others. You learn that failure is not only okay, but it is certain- something bound to happen to not only you, but everyone single one of your classmates.
You learn that not everyone is going to like you- professors, students, recruiters- and that’s okay.
You stop searching for acceptance in unwelcoming places, and you learn to just truly value a person who likes you for you and what you have to offer.
No bullshit, no games, no drama. You appreciate that in the real world because you’ve learned that it’s exhausting. College life and the things you thought mattered are all so tiny and irrelevant in the real world.
But most of all, you learn who you are and where you want to go.
A good friend of mine once said to me “I don’t think we know who we are at all in high school, we need to wait until college to finally discover ourselves”.
In high school, I had decent grades. Not too great, not too bad. Truthfully, if you told me I would be in 4 honor societies in college and Dean’s list every single semester I’d probably laugh. It was college that showed me that I truly did have what it took to be a top student and that people did recognize the hard work I had put into every single class- something that was very overlooked in high school.
If you told me I’d want to travel non-stop, I’d be shocked. Sure I liked going to Florida every once in a while in high school, but Africa?! HA no way.
I guess, the point of this is that it took me 4 years of college to know that I am a hard working, smart young woman who can nail a job interview and who can pass portions of the CPA exam, all on her own. I am a woman who can travel the world, and not be stopped or scared by anything or anyone standing in her way. Hell, I got my appendix out alone in Italy and I’m alive to tell the story.
Our unique journey make us who we are- don’t regret it
It is due to the college experience I had and every decision I made in that time frame that made me who I am today. Would I be who I am now if I was a history major instead of accounting? Or if I didn’t study abroad or accept an internship at a Big 4 firm? Who knows. But at the end of the day, I’m not willing to find out.
As much as we may regret some stupid life choices, we can’t change them. We can only move forward and make more mistakes to learn from in the next chapters in our lives!
So, as for changing things during my college career- I think I’ll have to pass.