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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

If you could do college all over again, what would you do differently or leave unchanged?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (34380points) June 19th, 2010

Imagine you have the opportunity to go back to younger years and go to college again. What would you do differently? What would you leave unchanged?

I would change the university that I went to. I would research more alternative places to attend. I would even look abroad.

I would change majors. I would still seek a liberal arts background, but my major would be different.

I would spend my free time differently. I would definitely look for a lot more dating fun.

It seems that I would probably live my life quite the opposite than I actually did. Hmm.

What would you do?

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28 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

It might seem harsh, but I would break up with my boyfriend before I left. Two years of college without dating, being faithful and true-blue—and then dropping out, planning to get married to him and instead breaking up after all.

I did have a lot of uninterrupted study time, though.

By the time I resumed college 4 years later, it was too late to enjoy a campus social life. I was older than the other students. And I had another boyfriend.

augustlan's avatar

If nothing else in my life would change, I’d go to college in the first place. I’m a high school dropout, something I’ve always regretted. I’d also make it a point to live on my own before hitching myself to another. However, had I been in college I would never have met my first husband. My three children wouldn’t be who they are, if they existed at all.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I probably wouldn’t change anything. Given my poor social skills, I couldn’t have done better anywhere else. My college years were pure academics, living at home and ignoring campus life. I got top grades from a top school, which set me up for my future. That’s all I could ask for.

dpworkin's avatar

I would have gone in 1968 instead of waiting until 2006.

kenmc's avatar

I would have gone to a university and did it right.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I wouldn’t change anything. I joined the Army after high school instead of going straight to college. Upon coming back from basic training, I met my first husband and had my son. After my ex-husband left us, I went to college to become a nurse. If I would have went to college instead of the Army, I would be in a different career and might not have my wonderful son.

ipso's avatar

I would have partied and gotten laid more. (Grades have zero fuck-all to do with “success” in the marketplace.) I would have fucked all my girlfriend’s best friends (because that is what I fantasize about). I would have looked 1000+ more people in the eyes and gotten to know them. I would have paid attention to tone and theme, not just results. I would have read the books the teachers prescribed. I would have started my hobbies earlier and taken pictures.

xStarlightx's avatar

I haven’t even finished college and I already want to restart it.
I’ve messed up on a whole lot and to be honest I could have been done by now if I wasn’t so fucking lazy.

Fyrius's avatar

Context: I’m about to graduate college (well, university) right now. Just a few more months.

I’d want to get my act together better when it comes to putting together my curriculum. This time around it’s been a bit of a rag-tag mess of stuff that just seemed interesting to me at the time, without much coherence, structure or specialisation. I just went with the flow and followed the default options everywhere, just to be done with it, instead of sitting down and mustering up the patience and courage to actually think about what courses would actually be a good idea to follow.
Hi, I’m Fyrius, and I’m a recovering decisiophobe.

That’s academically speaking.
Socially speaking… well, even though I’ve been much of a wallflower, I’ve had as much of a social life as I could handle. No more, but no less either. I don’t regret that.

Maybe if I could do college all over again, but with the mental developments I’ve had on the first go, I’d try dating someone. It’s taken me so long to feel remotely ready for that sort of thing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Fyrius : “College” is a catch-all phrase in American English meaning university or many times something less.

Sellz's avatar

I would have stayed in instead of joining the army

MissAusten's avatar

I would have taken advantage of the opportunity to spend a semester in England. My university had a “sister campus” in Harlaxton, and all students regardless of major could study there for a semester. Tuition was the same, but you had to cover your own travel costs. Classes were held 4 days a week so students could use the long weekends to travel around Europe, and a few longer breaks with specific trips were scheduled each year. I was too intimidated by the idea of traveling to even try to go. I think my dad would have paid for it if I’d asked. A lot of my friends went, and after seeing their photos and hearing their stories, I wished I’d gone too. By that time, it was too late to make the trip and still graduate on time, and I’m pretty sure my dad would NOT have paid for an extra semester just so I could travel.

I read a quote somewhere that said something like, “It’s not the things you do that you regret, but the things you don’t do.”

ubersiren's avatar

I would’ve gotten a general associates degree rather than bouncing from major to major for nearly a decade, wasting money and collecting student debt. Then, I would’ve trained in my trade to obtain the career training I ended up getting. A lot less waste/cost would be my main goal. Although I did learn some important lessons along the way, I’m not sure it was all worth it.

mrrich724's avatar

Not much. I went to FSU and I loved it. I screwed up Freshman year, but I can’t say I’d change that either. It was because I was having a blast, and it afforded me a whole ‘nother year.

The only thing I would change would be my relationship status. I dated a girl for a year and a half (and out of five years of college that’s alot) that I wouldn’t do if I went again.

My “free” time with my fraternity brothers was way better.

casheroo's avatar

I would have taken it seriously. I did what @ubersiren did and here I am with no degree still

hug_of_war's avatar

I would have realized I’d never survive with the extreme type A personalities that go to competitive colleges and I would have gone to the place that offered me way more in scholarship money, which mans I probably wouldn’t have dropped out of college for 9 months and restarted somewhere new and I probably wouldn’t be a year behind most people I know (I thought it wouldn’t bother me but they’re all starting graduate school in the fall and moving away from this city for the first time and . I would have figured out sooner pleasing my parents wouldn’t make me happy and I wouldn’t have tried so hard to be in the sciences. I would have figured out what I love sooner (speech pathology) so I would have time to double major in my other passion, spanish, and I would have been able to study abroad.

I have one year left, and it’s pretty depressing looking at all my mistakes. It took me 3 of the past 4 years to finally settle on a major. Almost everyone I know knew from the start exactly what they wanted to do, and no one quite understood why I couldn’t settle down. I am really glad I chose something that leads to a career though instead of a generic BA, because those tend to lead to office jobs which I hate.

janbb's avatar

I loved my school for its academics but it was an all-women’s school (nearly) and I missed out on some of the social aspects that being at a co-ed school would have given me. It was also very small, and while I think I still would prefer a small school, I would go to one that was perhaps double in size to mine.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Fortunately, I can say that I would have changed nothing at all.

bongo's avatar

I have just finished my degree and I wouldn’t have done anything differently, I had a brilliant time and met loads of fantastic people however I worked hard and got a first class degree which is the highest grade I could have received. I loved my subject and actually enjoyed a lot of my lectures. I was really lucky with that. I studied marine biology not for job prospects but to indulge my interest in the subject which is why I think I did so well. I am now applying for jobs and couldn’t be happier with the main decisions I made during my degree. I went to Newcastle university which is an excellent university in an excellent city. I would recommend my course to anyone willing to work hard, play hard and who has an interest in marine life.

tedibear's avatar

I would have spent more time on my classwork and less time wrapped up in my emotional angst. I would have “made” myself get over not liking a class because of a particular professor. (If I didn’t like the prof, I turned off from the class.) I wouldn’t have gone to England my senior year as the students who stayed in the U.S. had a better professor (one I even liked! LoL!) and a better grounding in the courses that we all took.

talljasperman's avatar

I would have not skipped class

john65pennington's avatar

I would not change a thing. my college days at the University of Tennessee were outstanding. classes in the daytime and playing rock and roll music at night. what a way to go.

tinyfaery's avatar

I would have spent more time thinking about my future rather than just focusing on learning, in the moment. I did, however, graduated with a very impressive GPA. When I do go back to school, which I plan to do, I will have my pick of colleges.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I would have gone to that Seven Sisters school. Instead, my very traditional family thought it was “too far” for me to go by myself. I ended up at a state university that was huge (instead of that other college which was smaller) and I was miserable. It was a college that emphasized engineering and not the arts and literature. I am not knocking state universities, it is just that this one was particularly conservative and just in the dark ages. I made some great friends, but when I was sprung, I rushed to the East Coast for graduate school. And it was fantastic. Just as I imagined.

YARNLADY's avatar

My father offered to send me to Stanford if I would give up the idea of getting married to a high school drop-out. I should have taken him up on it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would have cared less about grades.

jenandcolin's avatar

I would have done two things differently. First, I would have studied abroad. I regret not doing this. I thought I had plenty of time and didn’t realize life post-graduation would be very busy.
Also, I would have finished my second major. I ended up with a major in sociology and a minor in history. I do not regret this. However, I was only one course away from a second major in psychology. I dropped the major after I wrote a paper about eating disorders. The class it was for was called “Biological Basis of Behavior”. Although I did focus on the biological basis of eating disorders I felt it was important to add some literature related to the social causes and impacts. I spent maybe one out of 18 pages on this. Because his viewpoint/class couldn’t explain the importance of the social aspects related to these disorders he simply wrote a big red “X” through the section. I still received an “A” on the paper but it bothered me so much that he just disregarded the importance of this argument that I dropped the major. In retrospect, I should have just never taken a class with him again and kept the double major. This was particularly odd for me because I am not a quitter. I think this may have been the only thing I didn’t see through to the end.

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