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What could you have done differently/better in university?

What could you have done differently/better in university?
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Wayne’s Answer

Hi!

I did well in college, but there are definitely things that I wish I did better.

I Should Have Applied for More Scholarships. Even though I was fortunate as to finish out college without too much ebt, I should have definitely applied for more scholarships. More money is never a bad thing.

I Should Have Been More Involved. I wish I took part in more on-campus activities. The number of clubs and organizations on most college campuses is staggering. There is almost certainly a club for every niche. Not only are these clubs fun, but they can also offer great opportunities and friendships for your future career or for your personal life. Every student should join at least one club that sounds interesting to him or herself.

I Should Have Studied More. Make sure you focus on your studies more. Try to make a bit of an extra effort. You will thank yourself later.

I Should Have Spent More Time Learning New Things. Isn't the best time to start learning something new in your college years?

I Should Have Taken the Future More Seriously. You can’t just let things be and expect them to work out magically. You need to work things out, make plans, and be one step ahead. It’s okay if your plans don’t always work out — what matters is that you take responsibility for your life.

Good luck!

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Xitlali’s Answer

Hi!

Even though I was involved in different clubs that were related to my major, I wish I would have taken more risks in college. That includes saying yes to more opportunities, and sometimes being uncomfortable. Freshman to Junior year, I was coasting by and thought I was doing okay for someone who switched from a STEM major to Business. It wasn't until my senior year that I realized I could be doing more. So I started going to more office hours and took on extra projects from professors. Because of this, I was able to receive insight on future career choices and get advice on the next steps I would be taking.

Also, don't be afraid to receive feedback! It can be hard to hear and receive, but it will all help out in the end.

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Peregrin’s Answer

Like the others I see answering here, I did very well in college.

I believe getting internships and building up a network of people who can help you get started out of college, either directly in the field you are looking for, or as recommendations to others, would have been smart to do. The academics were a must do. Having more scholarships or grants to reduce the cost of college, and minimize debt for you or your family, always a good thing. But for your personal growth and career success, developing a network and gaining practical experience through internships makes the most sense to me looking back.

Beyond the immediate benefits of learning about careers through practical work and meeting people to help recommend you, learning how to actively network and identify mentors to work with is an incredibly valuable skill. Once in the working world, it will be as much your ability to network successfully (assuming your job performance is above average), that will lead you to promotion and higher responsibilities.

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Melissa’s Answer

Even as a pretty good student, there are areas looking back I could have been better/done something differently.

Study more. Take the time to learn how you study best. If it's in the silence of a library sitting by yourself or with a group of classmates so you can ask/answer questions, great. Find that out and study for everything.

Selecting best courses. When selecting classes (particularly those that were for GED and not your major/minor), make sure you're interested in the topic. The topic doesn't have to be relevant to your field, so long as you find it interesting and want to learn. If you don't attend or pay attention, you're throwing money away. I took a biology course to check a science course off my list, and I learned nothing.

Set goals. The journey can and will change, but the goal should always remain. It's ok to start small. This mentality will help with future career paths, especially the "where do you see yourself in 1, 5, 20 years?" question.

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED
Listen. Your professors are giving you feedback because they care and can see potential. It wasn't until a few years after graduating I finally realized what one professor was trying to tell me. I didn't give their comments enough time to sink in, and missed out on some better project outcomes because of it. Now, I'm updating my portfolio years later, trying to implement some of that feedback.

Best of luck!

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Molly’s Answer

I really enjoyed my time in college but I think the main thing I would do differently is take more classes that really interest me. I took classes to graduate on time with my major, etc., but now I'm wishing I took advantage of all the different elective-type classes on interesting topics. I miss learning and learning just because it's a topic that interests me especially. So my advice is to take classes that you want to take and enjoy the opportunity to learn about them from leaders in the subject-area!

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Nikita’s Answer

Great question! College is the time to truly find your passion and as such, I wish I had spent more time networking with individuals in various fields (i.e. through professors, professionals, etc.) , stepping out of my comfort zone to apply for all sorts of internships and jobs, and finding a mentor.

Additionally, the other thing I wish I did is just take a moment to breath and enjoy my college years. It can be hard to find space to stop and take a moment to take it all in especially with classes, extracurriculars, and work but it's very important to find a good balance between work and life.

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Michelle’s Answer

I wish I applied for more off-campus opportunities like internships or part-time office jobs with firms, no matter how large or small. This will provide you with more exposure to the workforce, which will help when you transition to a full-time role. Opportunities on campus are great and provide valuable learning and networking experiences as well, but make sure to apply to multiple internships or jobs at the types of firms you plan on working at. For example, if you want to work in banking, see if you can work part-time as a bank teller.

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Katie’s Answer

There are three things I would have done differently:

1. I would have taken time off to work and decide what I really wanted to study. I wasted many credits, time, and money by switching majors without a clear understanding of what my interests were and what my future goals were.

2. I would have studied abroad and learned another language. There aren't many chances in life to completely immerse yourself in another culture or become bilingual as quickly than experiencing time abroad. I've traveled a great deal since college, but it is just not the same and there are many experiences that would have changed my perspective on world.

3. Lastly, I would have taken internship positions as early as possible. It's never too early to apply for internships either during the school year or for the summer break. There is no better way to understand what environment and work you would enjoy than experiencing it first hand. Additionally, it will give you interpersonal skills within the work environment, interview skills, and added experience to your resume. All this will make for an easier transition from school to the workforce.

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Brandon’s Answer

For me it was definitely interacting with other students and getting an internship that would help my degree. Currently I am on track to get my Bachelor's of Arts in Culture, Literature and the Arts, but back then I had a job working at a local library outside of school. Working at the library did give me experience working at a library setting, however with my degree it doesn't exactly apply well. So I wish that I was able to get an internship somewhere where my degree is applicable. Interacting with other students and joining school clubs is also something that I wish that could have done better. Since I was so focused on school and work, I missed out on plenty of opportunities offered by the University that I wish that I could have partaken in. By going to such events and volunteering you can branch out your networking and gain new recommendations if needed, for certain job. Having University clubs backing you up when it comes to recommendations is always a plus.

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Kenji’s Answer

Hi,
Rising senior in college here! There are some phenomenal points above talking about leadership, career, and studying. I hope to address a more non-academic aspect of college - take time for yourself.

It's super important to get good grades, recruit for awesome companies, and join leadership positions. There is hard work to be done and sacrifices to be made in order to achieve that. That being said, please take the time for yourself, your friends, and your family. Make sure to establish a limit as to how much you're willing to give up in order to achieve those goals and stick to it. Failing to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others may diminish your support structure and mental health, which can make getting that 4.0 or offer letter even harder!

While your hectic schedule may seem like there isn't room to breathe, a good way to find a balance is to set aside some time everyday that is protected and dedicated to do non-school/career activities. Treat it like a super important meeting that can't be rescheduled. Use this time to catch up with friends, take a walk, or do something that makes you happy.

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Lauren’s Answer

Hi - Great question! Looking back on it, when I was in college I wish I would've known to apply for more scholarship opportunities. There are so many ways to receive a scholarship/grants while you're still in college from various professional organizations. I'd definitely recommend doing the research to see which professional organizations offer student scholarships based on your major and/or career path desires. Something I also wish I did differently would've been to really connect with my professors, it wasn't until my junior/senior years that I networked and received advice from my professors that were designated to my specific major. My schedule was so busy I never had the chance to go to office hours that they held during the beginning of my college experience. I would've liked to have connected more with professors outside of my major but still in the business department and even other fields. Mainly because you never truly know when you'll need a reference or an introduction after you graduate from college and it's good to have them as resources. Definitely capitalize on getting to know everyone you meet because you never know what type of an impact they can have on your personal and professional growth later on.

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Edwin’s Answer

Hi Rbx!

1. I wish I had more leadership skills by joining different organizations. For example, I am an active member in different clubs such as Associated Student Body and Cross Country.
2. I could have chosen a major earlier by understanding my likes and dislikes in a potential career. For example, I should have completed internships to explore my career path.
3. Volunteer at more different clubs and gain employable skills, I now emailed different non-profits to gain hard skills.

But, I would say you are doing a great job and you are always learning!

Best,
Edwin

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Maryanne’s Answer

I did well in college. Looking back I would have prepared myself better -- I didn't have good study skills when I started college and it took me awhile to figure out what worked best for me. If I were to do it again, I would seek help earlier. My school had programs that would have helped me but I didn't try to find out about them or access them.


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Nikita’s Answer

Great question! College is the time to truly find your passion and as such, I wish I had spent more time networking with individuals in various fields (i.e. through professors, professionals, etc.) , stepping out of my comfort zone to apply for all sorts of internships and jobs, and finding a mentor.

Additionally, the other thing I wish I did is just take a moment to breath and enjoy my college years. It can be hard to find space to stop and take a moment to take it all in especially with classes, extracurriculars, and work but it's very important to find a good balance between work and life.

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Sarah’s Answer

I would have taken more classes in the business/data analytics or technology space. Especially being an auditor now at PwC, the industry is really changing in terms of the use of technology and analytics in the daily work that we do. It would have been great to learn more about this during college, vs trying to learn it while also trying to do my job. In addition, I took one class on management in grad school and looking back I wish i took many more classes in the management space. My daily job involves working in a team and managing both people below me and projects (audits) in general. If you have an opportunity to take a class in project/team/company management, I highly recommend it!

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Nate’s Answer

Hi Rbx,

Great question!

I wish I would have spent more time in college exploring personal passions outside of my primary career aspirations (as a finance major, I loaded up on business courses to ensure a strong resume and academic track record). Looking back, I wish I would have learned French or Italian, taken computer science courses, sports-related courses, nutritional/health studies, etc.

Additionally, I wish I had spent more time networking with my professors beyond the classroom. Especially in business courses, your instructors are often practitioners in the very field they are instructing you in; gaining their insight on the industry and the opportunities available to you beyond the coursework involved would have been invaluable. I've heard of many situations where professors actually assisted students in getting jobs lined up after college.

Best of luck to you! Focus on the end-goal, but remember that life is a continuous learning experience and exploring personal passions will only become more important to you as you progress in your career.

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Sheetal’s Answer

I did pretty well in college though looking back - I wish I would have attended more networking fairs, selected courses/professors with some more thought.
I believe the focus during college time is to study well - maintain a decent GPA, gain some real world experience through internships and do not forget to network!

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Mila’s Answer

Hi Rbx,

If I could go back to my university days, I would do 3 things differently:

1. Take advantage of office hours and ask professors/TAs for help: I tried to do it all myself and while I did, it would've been easier had I just asked for help

2. Signed up for a co-op position / internship: now that I work/have worked for companies that take in co-op/interns, I see how invaluable that experience is. Universities don't teach you how to conduct yourself in a work environment, how to write an email, build relationships/network, etc. These are all things you learn in a workplace and because you're a student, there's a bit more leeway for you to learn and experience those early day bumps in the road/adjustments to working in a professional environment

3. Expand my network/circle of friends: this is probably my biggest regret. You're only in your late teens/mid-20s once. Get out there and meet people. Enjoy it

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Cynthia’s Answer

I think I would've taken the time to join clubs such as consulting club, investment banking club etc.. I feel that it would have given me a great deal of context and background given that I was interested in this field.

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Chester’s Answer

I spent a lot of time in college focused on clubs/organizations that I was interested in, extracurriculars, my coursework, meeting and spending time with many of the great friends that I have today, and doing internships (I did a different internship during my Freshman, Sophomore and Junior summer years). Looking back, I wish I carved out a quarter to study abroad while I was in school. I have been able to travel post-college quite a bit, but have realized that being able to live in another country for 3 to 6 months and immerse myself in another culture and place outside of the US would have been an immensely different experience, and that it is extremely challenging to do once you start work after college.

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Gayatri’s Answer

Hi There!
This is a great question! I believe some of the things that I would have done better when I attended my Master's program at my University was to connect with as much people within my course, my classes and throughout my program at my University. This habit for creating connections should start at an early age especially if one has to be comfortable to step outside of their comfort zone and talk to people if one considers that to be a bit difficult. Colleges are a great resource that one should utilize to do any activities that they are not comfortable doing it otherwise, that safe space of college is a great way to upskill a lot of soft skills and thus prepare for their professional journey ahead.

Another thing I would have done differently is to participate in some clubs, social events and organize and lead these clubs. Along with academics, these social responsibilities helps to strengthen the leadership skills which are really helpful later on to help take on additional responsibilities at a professional settings.

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