The other day a random text appeared on my phone.
What are your top three regrets of college?
A friend wanted to know. He never told me why, and honestly, I never responded. But I’ve been thinking about that question ever since.
I loved college. I miss it in fact. The freedom, the learning, the friends, the campus, the adventure…so many memories I cherish, but I certainly have a number of regrets.
As I consider those days and that question, I’ve narrowed down my mistakes to three main categories.
I worried about the stupidest stuff. I had a part time job. I fretted over classes and grades. And I went to fewer games and activities because of these concerns. But college is a time to explore and dream, a time to have adventures. Life after college gets serious all too quickly. You will have a lifetime to be serious! Life will get heavier. But college is a greenhouse of growth and opportunity. It is a chance to travel and test yourself, to laugh and develop deep friendships. Don’t miss that opportunity.
This may sound like a contradiction to what I just said, but I mean to highlight a slightly different regret. So, while on the one hand I was too serious about the wrong things, on the other hand, I wasn’t serious enough about the right things. I wish I hadn’t stressed about grades, but focused on learning. I wish I hadn’t stressed about money and work shifts, but focused on being a good worker, a person of character. I wish I had taken the extra time I had in college (and you really do have extra time in college…you just don’t realize it until later) to develop myself more and prepare myself spiritually, mentally, vocationally, and even physically for the next phase of life.
I worried about romance way too much. I was always thinking about “the one.” I was always searching, wondering, and worrying about finding someone. I would love to go back to my college self, grab me by the shoulders, and shout, “Relax! Enjoy this season of life!” I had so many good friends, so many wonderful influences. Why did I have to muck it up with the constant concern about dating? Just enjoy groups! Seriously. Enjoy friends! Enjoy singleness. Or, if you’re dating, don’t stress about the future. At just the right time, God will bring along the right person, and you will know it. Don’t burden every day from here to there with that worry. Trust God with your future.
Of course, God is so gracious; he even worked through my mistakes and regrets. He orchestrated my steps when I was distracted and lost. I hope you will experience college without regrets, but if you stumble, and you probably will, know he graciously guides those who seek him, regrets and all.