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Freshman: This is a classroom. Try and visit one at least once a week.

Some free advice for college freshmen

I live on the East Side, not far from my alma mater, UW-Milwaukee. In the past few weeks, I've had the mixed blessing of watching thousands of students show up for the new semester. I've heard them laugh and scream at each other as they pass under my apartment window at 3 a.m. and I've watched as they carried home cases of beer at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Man, I miss those days! Most of them, anyway. It's a shock to the system for a lot of 18-year-olds to suddenly not have anyone keeping track of them. It certainly was for me. Stay up all night, drink at two in the afternoon, go to class -- or not -- because no one was going to send a note home to mom and dad.

College was a lot of fun, but at some point you have to grow up (a little) and either graduate or move on. I have a few regrets from "the best four years of my life," as I'm sure most people do.

Whether you're an incoming freshman or a fifth-year senior, this list might help you enjoy your time a little more. Learn from those that have experienced it all before you knew what a keg stand even was.

Here is a list of "I wish I had" and "I wish I hadn't" from a bunch of college grads. No, not just from me, so don't go jumping down my throat if you don't agree with each and every one of the items on the list. Some items I wouldn't even agree with, so you'll have to take the items that seem to resonate with your life and your goals and if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity, make it happen so you don't have college regrets.

I wish I would've:

  • Gone abroad for a semester.
  • Eaten less and worked out more.
  • Actually legitimately studied.
  • Realized how important college is to a successful career.
  • Gotten involved in a club, team or organization earlier in my college career.
  • Worn sweatpants to class more often.
  • Gone on wilder Spring Break trips.
  • Experimented with my lesbian urges more.
  • Realized there is life after college.
  • Applied for more internships.
  • Stood up to my insane roommate.
  • Taken more computer classes!
  • Realized you can put alcohol in coffee.
  • Known you can't go home again.
  • Traveled with friends more.
  • Stuck to my major and completed it.
  • Changed my major.
  • Tried out for football.
  • Realized my crush was gay and told him I'd always be there no matter what.
  • Slept with my hot professor.

I wish I wouldn't have:

  • Believed that every boy that said he loved me actually did.
  • Gotten caught up in the drama of dorm life and instead spent more time alone at the library.
  • Had a girlfriend freshman year.
  • Been a drunk.
  • Thought that four years would last forever.
  • Gone home each Summer break.
  • Thought volunteering would've been a waste.
  • Jumped right into my Masters program.
  • Lost touch with so many people from back home.
  • Put off getting a job until senior year.
  • Lost my fake ID to a really mean bouncer on Water Street.
  • Showed my boobs on stage in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Gone to a school so close to my hometown.
  • Gained 20 pounds my freshman year.
  • Rolled with the wrong crowd.
  • Adopted a pet before I was responsible enough.
  • Wasted so much time worrying about trivial social BS.
  • Waited so long to branch out on my own.

So there you have it. Anything you'd like to add? I know most or all of this advice will fall on deaf ears because that's how I took advice when I was younger. But, there is a lot to be said for standing on the shoulders of those who've experienced life ahead of you. Unfortunately when you're 18, away from home for the first time, meeting hundreds of new people and drinking too much ... it's difficult to see the value in this advice.

There is no point to looking back and regretting anything, the past is just that, the past. But the opportunity to change your life for the better in the future happens every day. You don't have to be in college to make decisions that could change the path of your life.

Talkbacks

sandstorm | Oct. 4, 2010 at 3:24 p.m. (report)

"Experimented with my lesbian urges more." go on, i'm listening...

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