We Asked Graduates From Across The UK To Share Their Biggest University Regret
Being a student is pretty much ideal – you have the freedom of an adult without all the responsibility. Or council tax.
But you want to look back and know you made the most of it and that you took as much away from the experience as you could.
We spoke to graduates all over the UK to find out what they wish they had known as freshers – and most importantly what they regret the most.
2016 freshers, take note.
1. “I didn’t play a team sport.”
“I love football and there was even an F team at my uni, which shows the level of talent and how easy it was for people to get involved. Maybe it was a lack of confidence or maybe it was just laziness, but I wish I’d gotten involved.
“I also didn’t study enough. Sure, things have worked out now, but I never pushed myself academically and I don’t know what I could’ve achieved. My sister went to the same college at the same uni and did the same degree and got a First, whilst I got a 2:2. I don’t think I really gave a shit, but I regret not trying.”
From Zac, who graduated from Durham University.
2. “My waistline regrets the kebabs.”
“The rest of me regrets letting my sense of self-worth get so tangled up in the ups and downs of my grades that one rubbish essay would send me scurrying to the comfort of Wetherspoons.”
From Mark, who graduated from the University of Oxford.
3. “I waited until final year to push myself.”
“I started university determined to get involved with everything and anything – really make the most of being in such a unique environment – but that didn’t really happen. It wasn’t until final year when the reality of it all ending started to hit me that I forced myself to do what I should have done years before. I joined the student newspaper, I got involved with the SU, I met loads of new people – one of whom I ended up dating for 3 years – and *finally* realised some semblance of an answer to ‘what do you want to do with your life?’
“The experiences I gained and people I met in my final year helped shape my life after university, and I regret not getting involved sooner. Who knows what else could have happened.”
From Sean, who graduated from Bangor University.
4. “I really regret not joining a society.”
“TV, Film, Radio – they could’ve been my calling. I think I always felt like I’d left it too late to join and now I look back and wonder what I even did with the 40 hours a week I had to chill.”
From Sarah, who graduated from Nottingham Trent University.
5. “I wish I hadn’t wasted the free time by being in bed with a bad head from the night before.”
“You have so much free time at uni, which I really miss now I’m working. I wish I hadn’t wasted it by being in bed with a bad head from the night before as much as I did (although I do have some great memories because of those nights before). Treat your studies as a 9-5 job, Monday to Friday, and you can enjoy your weekends guilt-free. I only realised this in my final year and I wish I’d realised earlier – I suddenly had everything under control study-wise, my dissertation was manageable and I managed to join societies which I always wrote off because I didn’t think I had time.
“The best bit is you still have loads of time to nap afterwards, go out with your friends and have amazing nights out – you just don’t have that 6pm ‘oh god, I’ve not done anything today, oh god’ panic.”
From Jonny, who graduated from the University of Sheffield.
6. “I didn’t go out enough.”
“I spent my time at uni stressed about studying and living costs. I tried to get decent grades, got a job at Starbucks and got involved with societies, but I never really felt like a student. I don’t think I socialised as much as I could have.”
From Bogdan, who graduated from the University of Manchester.
7. “I don’t tend to regret a lot but there is definitely one particular thing I regret, during Freshers’ Week.”
“We were pre-drinking in halls and I was loose AF. One thing led to another and I ended up climbing a tree, right in the middle of halls. Fully naked. It felt like the right thing to do at the time, but it stopped being funny when I was still being called “dick in a tree” half way through second year by people I hadn’t met.”
From Nick, who graduated from Bath Spa University.
8. “Leaving it too late to get a house and ending up in a complete shit hole.”
“And spending too much time playing sport instead of working.”
From Ben, who graduated from Durham University.
9. “I think my biggest uni regret is not really making the most of all of the university services and facilities available to me until final year.”
“I wish I’d explored campus more when I first got there, rather than leaving it until I was not far off graduating. It was easy to forget that there were other elements of uni life outside of lectures and nights out. I feel like I didn’t find the perfect spots to study in, the best gym classes, or the most helpful career services until it was too late to really utilise them properly.”
From Sally, who graduated from the University of Birmingham.
10. “I wish that I had spent less time working in first year.”
“Your first year grade really does not matter and although it helps you get into the flow of uni work, don’t forget to have fun and meet as many people as possible as well!
“I also regret rushing into the ‘who to live with’ decision – you won’t end up with no one or nowhere to live, so take your time. Think it through and live with people you are 100% sure about, as you have to spend 9 months with these people.”
From Bex, who graduated from the University of Leeds.
11. “I regret moving around after uni, I lost a lot of friends because of it.”
“Friends became acquaintances since everyone was too busy to talk or meet up. I’ve only really got one friend from uni still, and we hardly talk.”
From Luke, who graduated from King’s College London.
12. “I wish I hadn’t started smoking.”
“I didn’t really notice starting, I just think it was a combination of the freedom that comes with going to uni and living in a student house with six smokers. When I began I could drop it whenever I liked, so I didn’t think it was a big deal – but now I smoke a lot. Now I’m aware of how much harder it’ll be to stop and how much more spare money I would have now if I never picked it up.”
From Jack, who graduated from the University of the Arts London.
13. “My biggest regret would be that I didn’t do a year abroad.”
“Especially as the University of Kent was ‘The UK’s European University’.”
From Nathan, who graduated from the University of Kent.
14. “I wish I’d been a bit more wild, especially in first year.”
“Durham’s collegiate system, while amazing in many ways, could feel a little restrictive – it was hard to hide away from what (or who) you’d done the night before when you lived, ate, socialised and studied with the same people. The fear of being judged meant I was probably more reserved than I would’ve been elsewhere. Now I’m older, working and have ‘grown up’ responsibilities, I realise that I should’ve just gone for it – there’s plenty of time to be boring later.”
From Helen, who graduated from Durham University.