What I would do differently … If I were a college freshman again

We all look back on times in our lives when we wish we had been more informed, more responsible … maybe just a little bit smarter. We spoke with several college graduates and asked them what they would change if they could rewind the clock and start their college years over. Their answers serve as good advice for high school students about to embark on that once-in-a-lifetime college experience.

“If I could go back to my freshman year of college, I would stress less, because the stressing doesn’t solve anything. I would actually go to all my classes my first semester, and I would force myself out of my comfort zone more often. You’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than you’ll regret the things you did.

—BETH BATES, M.A. in History, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

“From my experience, freshman year is the easiest time in life to meet new people, so take advantage of this opportunity to build new relationships. You don’t have to cut ties with your high school friends, but you should make a real effort to widen your social circle. As for career advice, get involved with professional organizations as early as possible. There’s no better way to connect with people and jobs in your desired field. It will also help you stand out among your colleagues.”

—MATTHEW THERIOT, M.S. in Civil Engineering, Louisiana State University

“If I were a college freshman, I wouldn’t let myself be so preoccupied with what I believed others thought about me. I was so self-conscious about how I looked and the clothes I was wearing … I sometimes felt like I didn’t quite fit in with the students around me. In hindsight, none of that actually mattered and I made lifetime friends once I became more comfortable with myself.”

—KARLA DELGADO AVERA, B.S. in Education, Louisiana State University

“I would focus on identifying a clear career path for my future. It would be great to know if your desired field is right for you. Does it match your lifestyle? Are you passionate about it? Does it speak to your soul? These were all answers I discovered much later. I ended up getting a marketing degree and it has been the ultimate secret weapon in my career as a singer, performer and songwriter. It really gave me an edge. As a musician, you are a brand. A brand is a business. A business is nothing without marketing.”  

—JUSTIN GARNER, B.S. in Marketing, Southern University

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