After graduating from college, I reflected back to my high school days and realized how much of a different person I have become. In high school, I felt like I sat back and did the bare minimum. Don’t get me wrong–I was practically a straight A student and was excelled in math and science. But there are so many ways I held myself back. I knew that college was a new path ahead, a place where I would push myself to do better and grow as a person. Here are my regretful high school mistakes that I refused to live through again in college:
- Not getting involved. I’ll never forget Senior Awards Night in high school when I watched numerous of my peers get up and accept awards. Afterwards, I had never felt so disappointed in myself. So many parents were there to cheer on their kids when their names were called, and I remember telling my parents there was no point in coming because I knew I wasn’t going to receive anything. That night, I told myself that when I went to college, I wasn’t going to sit back and let opportunities pass me by. I was going to put myself out there and join clubs, get a job, play volleyball, and not settle for just going through the motions. I left SUNY Oswego, having graduated a semester early, with a 3.8 GPA and nine internships, two executive board positions and more personal triumphs under my belt than I could count. I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.
- Having self-doubting thoughts. In high school, I put myself down too much. I thought there were things I could simply never do–get over my fear of public speaking, being someone people looked up, or leading a group of people. I achieved all three throughout college. If you had told me my senior year of high school that I would be president of a club my senior year of college, I would have laughed in your face. I have grown tremendously and it all started once when I began to believe in myself and my abilities.
- Hanging out with fake friends. You can learn quickly or it can take some time, but judging people isn’t always the easiest. You see good for a long time and then you see the really bad. It’s up to you whether or not you want to stick around and deal with the abuse. I dealt with enough verbal and emotional abuse in high school and I was not about to go through that in college. Find friends that lift you up, make you a better person and encourage you to be who you want to be. Otherwise, drop them. It really is that simple. It might end up being a stressful time in your life, but once you let negative people stop having an influence on you, you’ll be much happier. Trust me.
- Letting my social anxiety get in the way of things I wanted to do. The thought of going to social functions or really anywhere by myself always gave my anxiety, especially if I knew no one. Walking up to others and engaging in a conversation was something I had a lot of difficulty with. I still faced this fear in college, but at the same time I approached it head on. I realized that improving yourself is not accomplished in one day, unless you’re Superwoman. Personally, it has taken me many times of facing my social anxiety to grow from it. But I knew as long as I kept facing this fear, I would continue to reduce it.
- Having regrets. This is practically the summary of this article. Life is too short to look back and say, “if I could go back” or “I wish I did that.” I thought high school went by quick but boy, college flew by a lot faster. You must realize that every experience is a lesson, and whether you fall flat on your face or achieve great things, it all makes up the crazy wonderful experience that college is meant to be. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but don’t slack off. You learn that life is short and it’s either now or never. So make those moments count.
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations. When she’s not volunteering her time with Make-A-Wish, you can find her reading a travel magazine and sipping a glass of hard cider or wine.