What college graduates regret

reflected sadness

Photo credit: Wikipedia

What’s the biggest regret that college graduates have? You might think it’s picking the wrong major, but according to this article, the answer is gaining more work experience:

What College Graduates Regret (theatlantic.com)

In a Pew Survey of college graduates, 50% of the respondents chose not gaining enough work experience as their biggest regret, while only 29% chose picking the wrong major. Other regrets include not studying enough (38%) and not looking for work sooner (30%).

This survey also found that one-third of college graduates who majored in social science, education, or liberal arts regretted their major, while 24% of science and engineering graduates regretted their major.

The article also includes a hilarious Scared Straight parody where disillusioned liberal arts graduates dissuade college students from choosing liberal arts majors. (“My major was Ceramics with a minor in Electronic Music. I CAN’T EVEN GET A JOB AT POTTERY BARN!”)

As a recent liberal arts graduate, I would say that my own biggest regret was also not gaining enough work experience. I did well academically, but I should’ve placed a greater emphasis on career development, finding internships, and being active in campus organizations.

For those of you who are recent college graduates, what do you wish you would’ve done differently in college?

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About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at http://twentysomethingsblog.com

Posted on February 27, 2014, in News & views and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Nice point you’ve given there. Yet for me, I think regrets all comes to us individuals. It’s how we cope up and make the most of what we have. I always have this IMAGE keeping me reminded why I chose this career and why I love it. For all who are in regret out there, find a reason to stay positive. Make something reminded you of it every now and then. It will help you out. I am willing to help in coming up with an inspirational image design for FREE. Just contact me, I’ll be there for a friend in need.

  2. I wish I would of done something differently with my student loans and then I wish there would of been a life skills class I have no idea how to do my own taxes, how to effectively invest money, understand insurance papers etc…

  3. Student loans! Yes! My financial planning was absolutely abysmal. Also, I wish I could actually talk to my parents about what I was going through financially and emotionally. I knew about the trouble it would be for finding a job (I have two older siblings and their graduations were in a deeper recession period). But this was what a lot of my convos with my parents: I should have also talked to them more about going to college instead of university. We are more career oriented in my family, and college would be more inexpensive and many of the programs in my area demand co-op.

    That being said, I can’t regret my university education. Having no money is a big big barrier, but I am actually where I want to be, and am planning for the future.

    School can’t give you everything, and sometimes you have to dig deep. It does mean that I’ll probably go to college for a postgraduate to specialize later on though.

  4. I would have to say not discovering my passion earlier.. I know I asked this a few weeks ago but if I would like to contribute/collaborate what is the best way and are there career based topics you are missing in the blog?

    Cheers 🙂

  5. You know, I don’t really look back and wish I had done more internships/activities – I definitely could have, but I don’t think it would have made much difference in getting me where I am today.
    I do wish I had enjoyed the experience more. I kept to a pretty defined schedule given the flexibility undergrads have, but I was also struggling with some social and mental health issues and needed to set those parameters for myself…I did the best I could have at the time, and came out with a good foundation for my twenties educationally and socially. All in all, the things I learned after college I couldn’t have learned any earlier, you find your way as you go along.

    • Wow Sarah, awesome of you to share.. Hope that things are going well for you now :).. What sort of activities would you have done i.e. going to the movies, pubs etc?

      • Thank you! Things are going well and I am getting together with friends more frequently, which sometimes lends itself to thinking I missed out on those things in college – especially realizing all the time I could have had! But if I wasn’t ready for more a active social life at the time, then I’m trying to realize that that’s okay, too. I don’t think anyone looks back on their past without thinking of what they could have done differently, but it’s only with time and going through the experiences that we learn these lessons.

  6. Yeah definitely, as my dad says “youth is wasted on the young”. Fortunately I am quite lucky as I feel the reflective types are that we can hopefully take this all of board reasonably young..

    At the same time though, I focus on living for tomorrow rather than dwelling on the past 🙂
    All the same congratualtions though

  7. workitfromhome

    HI School loans are tough. No job handed to you right when you get done either. I know. Take a look at the link below. It may be what your looking for. any questions just leave me feed back on my blog. KC
    http://startyourdreamjobnow.wordpress.com/attention-college-students-and-family/

  8. workitfromhome

    You know. I blazed my own trail. After high school, 90% of my friends went right into college. A few took one year or so off. I on the other hand, took five years off. I chose to work first. I jumped into college. And let me tell you, I seemed to appreciate it more then my friend that went directly in from high school! TBC later

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