5 Regrets These Students Had from High School

Given a year of massive change, it’s easy to look back and wish we could start over. “Hindsight is 20/20,” as the saying goes – a sentiment never more apt than now. And for you, the next generation of high school students, facing a major junction in your lives? I can only imagine that feeling is compounded. 

 

No one wants to graduate with regrets. But sometimes, the insight we gain from forging our own path through life holds valuable wisdom. So what can we do about it? I interviewed a range of thoughtful, reflective individuals to see what they wish they had known before leaving high school. 

 

“What I would tell my younger self is…”

Student: TK

State: California

HS Grad Year: 1986

College/Higher Ed: San Diego State University

Subject(s): English

 

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What I would tell my younger self is to be more patient. Time becomes elastic the older you get and the smallest moments become some of the sweetest. No rushing necessary… [laugh] I sound ancient.”

 

 

“I would do my best to convince myself…”

Student: ZB

State: California

HS Grad Year: 2013

College/Higher Ed: University of California, Berkeley

Subject(s): Humanities, English

 

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“I would do my best to convince myself to approach interdisciplinary studies with a more open mind. At the time, it feels like a singular focus on your projected career path is the most likely to make you happy. In reality, all the old cliches about life never going as planned are spot on, and you’re likely to land in a field that’s not as straightforward as you imagine!”

 

 

“Although this isn’t completely academic…”

Student: AL

State: CA

HS Grad Year: 2013

College/Higher Ed: University of California, Berkeley

Subject(s): Humanities

 

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“Although this isn’t completely academic, I wish I had practiced more vulnerability in high school. I know that that is the LAST thing we all wanted to do as high schoolers, but I graduated with high levels of anxiety and very few friends because I didn’t feel able to confide in anyone or let them in. I wonder how my academic life might have felt more balanced, and how I might have learned more from teachers and my peers, if I had been comfortable asking questions and asking for help.”

 

 

“I would tell my younger self to…”

Student: AK

State: California

HS Grad Year: 1980

College/Higher Ed: Yes, some

Subject(s): Survival

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“I would tell my younger self to slow down and be yourself. Life moves at breakneck speed all by itself, no need to help it along. Reach beyond what you think is possible, and try the unachievable. You just might prove yourself wrong.”

 

 

“I am an eternal student…”

Student: EK

State: California

HS Grad Year: 2012

College/Higher Ed: University of California, San Diego; Reed College MALS Graduate Program

Subject(s): BA in General linguistics with minors in Theater and Literature; the MALS program is by default interdisciplinary, I’ve been focusing on language and literature courses.

 

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“I am an eternal student, wandering from school to school. I do wish I had a little bit more of a plan, because I have a tendency to just let the cards fall as they will, but so far that has served me really well. I do not have a solid idea of my career path past Reed, but as previously mentioned, that’s pretty par for the course.”

 

 

 

 

“I wish I had taken some time…”

Student: Madeleine (author of this article; hello again!)

State: California

HS Grad Year: 2014

College/Higher Ed: University of California, Berkeley

Subject(s): Humanities

 

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“I wish I had taken some time to learn coding. I don’t know if I would have liked it, or been good at it, but I only realized that it was even an option after getting to college. I wish I’d explored different career paths and what skills I would need to hit the ground running.”

 

 


 

I hope these small moments of wisdom help you find your way. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it’s an uncertain time. And I can’t tell you that everything will be okay. What I am here to tell you is that you can always learn from your past missteps, and use those experiences as context for how you want to shape your future.

 

Thank you to each of the interviewees for sharing their knowledge, so that we may all continue to grow together. If you’ll allow me one final cliche, a rising tide lifts all boats; so let’s decide how we want our future to look.

 

If you feel that extra guidance would help you follow your best future path, a college counselor is a great option to consider. I can say from personal experience that our counselor network is full of high-achieving, encouraging mentors who will push you forward. Empowerly will match you to a counselor that fits your goals and style to make sure you’re on the right track. Click the button below to talk to us about options today. 

 

Most of all: I believe in you.

 

Questions? Let us know!