I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2016 and I regret it.
Of course there are a lot of things I don’t regret during my 5 years at college, including the beauty of Marquette, MI and even the beauty of campus, pictured above. I was lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and have the opportunity to go to college only an hour from where I grew up, but the thing I regret the most is going to college at all.
Growing up, I was always told that I had to get good grades, go to college, get a degree, and then get a good job. So that’s what I did. I studied hard throughout elementary and high school to get very good grades, I played in sports and participated in extra curricular activities. I was part of National Honor Society throughout high school and then joined another honor society in college.
If I could go back and start all over again, I wouldn’t do it and I’m going to tell you why.
I messed up a lot while I was in college. I still got good grades, but I always skipped class, I stayed up late, partied and drank way too much, didn’t have a job and got myself into a lot of debt. I was not smart about my life choices because I didn’t think I needed to worry about the impact of my decisions until after I had graduated.
My assumptions about life were completely wrong. College didn’t teach me life skills. I didn’t know how to manage or budget my money. I didn’t learn how to pay my bills or write a check. I got really big overage checks each semester, I’m talking thousands of dollars and instead of being smart with that money and instantly repaying the student loans I didn’t really need, I blew it all on clothes, alcohol and things I didn’t need.
I didn’t waste all the money I had, because I was still paying rent and buying school books with some of the money I had left over, but the majority of it should have gone straight back towards the loans I took out. I didn’t learn how loans worked and wasn’t smart about the money I had been given. To be totally honest, I didn’t really need to take out loans because the majority of my tuition was already covered. I was just lazy and didn’t think I needed to work while I was in school, and that was one of my biggest mistakes.
While I was in college, I loved it. I loved not having too many responsibilities and not having my parents looking over my shoulder. I felt very free, like I could do anything that I wanted because I was living in a new city and I was young and in college! I learned a lot academically when I went to NMU and I still speak to some of my old professors to this day, but college didn’t teach me about life, and that’s the education I needed the most.
I needed to learn life skills. I needed to learn how to be responsible, how to have a good work ethic, and how to live on my own. Instead I was completely irresponsible, I had zero work ethic, I didn’t know how to live on my own and support myself the right way and my family always bailed me out or sent money when I needed it.
It wasn’t until I was about to graduate from college that I realized I had made so many mistakes. I got my degree, but at that point it seemed like it was completely useless, and still two years later I’ve done absolutely nothing with it.
I was always told by my parents I needed to get a good job and was shamed by my family when I told them I wanted to write and use my creative talents. They said I would never make any money if I pursued that, so I switched my major early on and did was I thought I was “supposed” to do. In the end, I never ended up making money by choosing the career path I was told to take.
It’s ironic how things turned out. I’ve always had a passion for writing, fashion and the arts and I’ve always been drawn to it, which is a huge reason why I started this blog. I’ve made more money from this blog and pursuing my passions than I did pursuing a career in the legal field and I always think back to the beginning of that journey and wonder what I could have accomplished if I had just said screw it and did my own thing.
If I never went to college, I know I would be in a much different position than I am right now. I would have pursued my dreams 7 years earlier, I would have accomplished things that I actually wanted to, I wouldn’t have student loan debt, and I probably wouldn’t even be in any debt at all.
I know that I made a lot of mistakes back then. I was a young, naive, careless and carefree girl and now I’m an adult paying for all the bad decisions I made in my youth. I wish I could have done things differently, and I wanted to share my story so that other people out there who are confused and unsure of the route they want to take can get some perspective.
You don’t have to go to college. We are blessed to live in a time where college is not a requirement to live a good life. There are so many successful people who either dropped out of college, or never went in the first place and people today are more accepting of that.
Regardless of what you want to do, or whether you’re in college or not, just be yourself. Do things because you want to do them, not because other people want you to. I waited until I was 25 to start pursuing my dreams and my passions and made a lot of bad decisions leading up to this point and I regret it, so learn from my mistakes! Don’t do something unless your whole heart is in it, otherwise you will probably come to regret it later on!
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