“No Ragrets” is basically the new “YOLO” in the sense that:
a) It makes our skin crawl when people say it.
b) It is becoming an increasingly popular #hashtag.
c) It is, unfortunately, a way we all should strive to live our lives (yes, just like YOLO).
As the Class of 2014 scrambles to calculate the lowest possible scores we can get on our exams to pass, take some final trips to craft store (I mean, we spent A LOT of time here getting supplies for buddies, littles, and formal coolers) to get everything we need to make show-stealing mortar boards, and stifle our sobs as we do everything for THE LAST TIME, we can’t help but feel nostalgic.
Four (or more if you did it right) years are over. Just. Like. That.
The more drunk seniors I hang out with and complain about our lack of jobs or the rich fiancés we thought we’d have by now, the more times I hear the same line over and over: “I wish I would have…”
But then I started to wonder what “ragrets” people have as they march across that graduation stage and say goodbye to a chapter of their lives. I have asked countless seniors, alumni, and old timey folks (yes, I actually had adult conversations with, like, adults) what they regret most, and what they wish they did during those crazy, beautiful collegiate days.
- Not taking advantage of all the resources as a student (free Photoshop, pro-tools, and cameras, for example). I could be proficient in every major program by now.
- Being fully aware you’re dating the wrong person for a long time.
- Not touching that girl’s butt in English class.
- Not spending more time with my father. He died while I was in my second year of college.
- Only trying out one major, or not trying out the field before picking my a major.
- Thinking I could treat people like shit and still like myself.
- Not quitting my job earlier to spend more time studying.
- Not running around in the library with my friends dressed as Pac-Man characters making “nom nom” noises.
- Not finding the balance between visiting home and alienating my family.
- 8 a.m. class on Friday morning.
- Wearing the same clothes from Thursday night to the 8 a.m. class on Friday morning.
- Thinking I had to compromise my morals to be “cool.”
- Thinking my boyfriend’s friends were my friends.
- Putting my friends on the back burner while I chased guys who didn’t care.
- Giving back the jewelry after the breakup.
- Not taking the opportunity to live in my sorority house.
- Living in my sorority house and detesting all of my sisters.
- Climbing a mountainous rock formation carrying a 12-pack…in the dark…after drinking six.
- Always going to places around my school instead of exploring what the city around it had to offer.
- Thinking I needed to be with someone to be happy.
- Taking one more shot.
- Not taking one more shot.
- Cigarettes–Lord, the cigarettes.
- Not breaking enough rules. Now it’s harder and more of a risk in the real world.
- Not coming out as gay sooner, instead of living a lie most of my four years.
- I was always too self-conscious to ask for help, despite my desire to learn new things.
- Not realizing until my junior year that I could learn as much outside of my classes as I could in them. (I’m talking real life experiences, not dropping all of my classes and “learning from nature” or something.)
- Dating the same person three out of four years in college.
- Being self-conscious instead of just doing whatever the hell I wanted.
- Not striving harder for academic success.
- Throwing up into my sombrero at a Mexican-themed social.
- Not going on more trips while I had the opportunity. Never again will I have the income, time, or that particular group of friends.
- I wish I took more pictures.
- I made out with a hitchhiker once.
- Going to the bar that led me to making out with a hitchhiker.
- Picking the wrong school then transferring to another wrong school, which I happened to hate more.
- I wish I didn’t have a boyfriend every. Single. Year.
- I wish I lived life in the moment more instead of planning everything out.
- Not learning how to enjoy alone time.
- I should have just gone out that night before a test. It’s not like I studied anyway.
- I wish I spent more time hanging around the sorority house building relationships rather than going out, getting shitfaced, and not remembering any of it the next day.
- Never shacking with a guy since it’s kind of like a rite of passage.
- Thinking my future would just work out without putting in any effort.
- I really should have had more internships instead of spending so much time on the girl who lived across the hall.
- Picking a college based on where my high school (ex) boyfriend went.
- Not immersing myself in every club: fencing, photography, Scuba, belly dancing. I feel like I missed a lot of opportunities to learn about myself.
- I wish I would have taken a test drunk.
- I never went skinny dipping in the fountain.
- Picking a sorority based on it being “top tier” as opposed to one I would have found true sisters in.
- I wish I would have grown up and become a better person while I was in college.
- Not. Getting. Enough. Experience.
- I wish I would have found real friends instead of the artificial people I clung to.
- I thought my life was “perfect” and that it all couldn’t come crashing down at any moment.
- Not walking at graduation was such a mistake because I’ll never have that opportunity again.
- I thought picking up and moving away would solve my problems.
- Never doing a keg stand.
- Realizing that there is more to college than drinking, boys, and letters.
- Thinking I had to wear the fashion everyone else wore. Giant earrings and Daisy Dukes really aren’t for everyone.
- Thinking that just because college is over, I have to stop “finding myself” and taking advantage of all life has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 60. If you want to start putting yourself first, exploring all that your city (or hey, there’s a whole world out there) has to offer, or hell, learning to fence, it is never too late.
As spoken by a very wise former sorority girl: “I’m certain there will be those who will say, ‘I have no regrets.’ It’s all bullshit. We have them, we just realize they were meant to be so they eventually fall out of the regret category into the ‘Oh well, at least I’m still alive with a small amount of dignity’ category. Plain and simple, we move on. The dignity part might be iffy, though. It depends on how many witnesses were there.”