We all leave college thinking we’re ready to take on the world. We can’t help it sometimes; big milestones like college graduation naturally come with big expectations.
Then reality sets in… and we wish we would have been far more prepared for life after college. We wish would have done, and accomplished, more.
To help keep these professional regrets to a minimum, and so you could gain some been-there-done-that advice, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What’s the one thing you wish you did while still in college… but didn’t?
Here are some of their insightful answers!
Take a Psychology Class
Looking back, I wish I’d taken some psychology classes because it would have informed a lot of future business decisions. Everything you do is centered on people (customers, your internal team, vendors, etc.). So a psych foundation could have been invaluable as I learned more about buying patterns, demographics, the customer journey and so much more.
Living in a new place is an expansive experience that positively impacts all parts of your life. There’s something powerful about going outside your comfort zone, seeing the world from a new perspective, and realizing how big the world is. It’ll also be one of the best times of your life and an experience you’ll call on over and over as your professional life progresses.
I worked full-time when I was in college because I thought it would look great on my resume. However, with work unrelated to my field of study, I found it difficult to relate my work experience to the jobs I applied for once I graduated. A degree was not enough; many companies want one-plus years of related experience. Internships are the best way to get that.
Build Your LinkedIn Network
In college, I was thinking more about my GPA than my personal network. I wish I had built my network online from my freshman year on. When you meet people in classes, in clubs or even at parties, it is essential to connect with them — even your professors on LinkedIn. This network will be essential once you leave college.
I have recently started each day with meditation and journaling. With so many things going on all the time in your head, it’s great to clear your mind. This could have been very useful years ago when I was in college and balancing class schedules, assignments, clubs and internship experiences.
Get a Mentor
Whether it would have been a professor, upperclassman, or somebody already in the working world, I truly regret not having a mentor throughout my college years. Speaking to someone with more expertise really provides an influential perspective. And it helps you make important decisions that will shape your future.
Being able to communicate with people in China can help businesses in almost any industry. If you build a tangible project, that’s where you’ll source a lot of your material. If you’re a service company or tech company, you might hire talented developers from China. Mandarin fluency would have accelerated my company’s growth by five years.
Establish Relationships with Professors
I wish that I would have gotten to know my professors better. Looking back now, I realize how talented and well-networked the faculty was. And I wish that I could call on them more readily for advice and to tap their networks.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.