6 Things I Regret About My Time At University
Recently I’ve realised something.
Although I’m all about creating memories, having great experiences and just generally wanting to live without thinking “I should have done that,” there’s one stage of my life that is full of regrets – my time at university.
It’s not that I did badly or that anything went wrong – I graduated from The University of Queensland (apparently one of the world’s top 50 schools) with a decent GPA and walked straight into full time employment – but that I didn’t make the most of it. People were always telling me “you’re going to miss uni!” or “enjoy it, they’re the best years of your life” but neither has proved true.
I had the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of university careers: I was in and out with my bachelors degree in hand within three years, and didn’t spend any more time on campus than necessary. In fact, by the end of third year I barely went to class, even though I was lucky enough to go to one of the biggest and arguably the prettiest campus in Australia.
With that said, here are the six things I most regret about my time at uni – I hope some future or present students read this and learn!
#1 Never Setting Foot In the Uni Bar
Although there are several places at UQ where you can get a drink, the official student union bar is The Red Room. And I have never, ever been there. Named that before 50 Shades of Grey was ever a thing, The Red Room’s claim to fame is its policy regarding the song Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool – while many bars aren’t so keen on the tradition of dropping your pants (sorry – “trousers” for any Brits) when the song comes on, The Red Room’s rules (charter? I don’t know) states that no individual can be removed for pulling their pants down while its playing. Daddy Cool aside, I really regret never grabbing a cheap beer with classmates after a group presentation.
#2 Barely Being Involved with Clubs and Organisations
UQ has over 190 “official” clubs and societies, and all manner of unofficial groups and sports teams. I joined one (Journalism And Communications Students, or JACS) and then proceeded to never go to a single event or join any of the social sports teams. Most of this was thanks to work (I was a waitress for my first year and half at uni, and usually working when these things were on) but towards the end I felt weird about going – I’d already landed I job so I wasn’t sure if it was strange to go to networking events (answer – it wouldn’t have been. I’m an idiot). JACS aside, I wish I’d gotten into the other interests/sports/social groups – because once you leave uni, there are less opportunities for bonding over cheese and wine with other strangers who can barely afford it.
#3 Not Taking Advantage of Enough Free Resources and Workshops
As a student of UQ’s Journalism and Communication school, I was lucky enough to have had access to loads of free tutorials, workshops and seminars. In my first and second year (before my once-brilliant GPA slipped), I was also eligible for the UQ Advantage Award, opening up access to even more lectures from great speakers. I went along to the free Adobe Creative suite classes in first year… and then nothing. While I got through uni A-OK without them, I kick myself for not going to more – it would have been an hour out of my life for skills that I could use in my career (and blog).
#4 Not Studying A Language
I know this doesn’t apply for everyone, but as a communications student around a third of my degree was made up of electives – meaning I could study whatever the hell I wanted as long as they were deemed above a certain level. A lot of my classmates were smart enough to use these spare units to take French or Japanese, while I was trying to complement my core subjects with things like marketing and events management (which in many cases turned out to be the same as my communication subjects, with a little more maths involved). I learned a lot from my marketing courses but in the long run I feel getting a year’s worth of language study in would have been more beneficial.
#5 My Laziness/Wimpy-ness With Making New Friends
My classes were very cliquey – PR is a girl dominated degree, the Brisbane kids had known each other for years, and the international students stuck together by country. And while generally speaking I’m not shy, breaking into a group conversation is always harder than introducing yourself to one person. So after a while I just decided to stick to myself, go to class, get shit done and leave without talking to anyone. What. An. Idiot, right? In my third year I actually found out that a lot of other people had felt the same the same the whole time, and we’d potentially missed three years of friendship. I made great friends at work and boot camp so it’s not like my uni years are a sad tale of loneliness, but I do wish I’d tried to make friends in my classes who I would have had more in common with.
#6 Working Too Much
Because if I’m being real, work was a major player in all of the above – if I wasn’t in class, chances were I was waitressing. Obviously doing enough shifts to pay the rent, bills and buy food was important, but I was making more than enough. Looking back, I realise that those years of waitressing were more or less the only time in my life where I could have asked to work a max of 20 hours a week, but I didn’t – essentially trading the full student experience for money I didn’t need (or save). At the time I prided myself on never having been a “poor student” (always lived in nice suburbs, could afford decent vodka instead of cheap wine) but seriously – there’s no shame in that, especially if it means fonder memories of your uni years.
All of that said, I’m still happy with how things turned out for me (and very grateful that I was in and out in under three years) – I’d just hate for someone to make the same mistakes!
BONUS – a few other people pitched in with things they sorta kinda regret from their years at uni or college. Read on and learn, grasshoppers, but remember each to their own (I know I’m glad I withdrew from on-campus accommodation at the last minute).
@fullofliving I wish I spent my weekends there, I came home for work and my boyfriend at the time wasn’t worth it X
— Emmie (@carpediememmie) May 2, 2016
@fullofliving Sometimes I regret not living at Uni. But then I remember all the nights sleep I had at home ☺️ xx
— EmmaLouise. (@owlsandstags) May 2, 2016
@fullofliving I regretted not putting in my all and graduating before 5 years! Here I am still plugging away 😩
— The Something New (@TheSomethingNew) May 7, 2016