Why I Regret Rushing To The End Of My Degree

For everyone who just wants it to be "over already".

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I graduated uni in mid-2014 with no clue what to do next. I’d taken five-and-a-half years to finish what should have been a five-year-long double degree. Back then, that difference really mattered.

I was impatient to finish and felt relieved when it was done. Little did I know I’d just propelled myself into an unstructured future full of worry, uncertainty, and unsuccessful job applications.

Here’s why I wish I’d spent longer doing my degree.

#1 I Could Have Explored More Areas Of Study

One of my degrees was an arts degree, which meant I had access to every single arts course in my uni — politics, counselling, Japanese, photography, social science, web design. Taking an extra semester or two for a second major would have given me an opportunity to study different subjects, expose me to more areas of work, and taken the pressure off my chosen major to be the answer. 

#2 I Could Have Tried Harder

My other degree was law, and I used it to totally neglect my arts units. I treated them as a cushy break between the bone-dry, technical legal units. If I could re-do my degree now, I’d opt to do my arts degree as my undergraduate, my entire focus, and then study law post-grad if I still wanted to do it.

Sure, it would have added two semesters to my degree. But it would also have saved me years of fretting about whether I really did like the degrees I finished. 

#3 I Could Have Spent More Time Around Other Students

Not the Trents and Lukes of my private uni’s law school. It was only after spending a couple of years in the wild of the real world that I realised how lucky uni students are to spend their days learning.

It’s seriously cool to be around people determined to open their own minds, explore different perspectives, and discover new things. Without sounding too gooey about it all, I miss the commitment to learning, the progressive attitudes, and the curiosity of studying. Wondering why the office photocopier isn’t working now isn’t quite the same.

#4 I Could Have Done More Work Experience

How are we expected to know what it’s like to work in a field if we never try it!? If I’d spent longer at uni, I would have had more time to try studying abroad, completing internships and work experience. I could have dropped down my unit load to work more while I studied – instead of screaming through 11 overloaded semesters in a row, feeling like I just needed it get it done.

#5 I Could Have Had More Time To Wonder

At the time, the anxiety about not knowing what came after uni was suffocating. But if I’d leaned into it a little more, and given myself the permission to not know, I still would have arrived in the position I now find myself in. I’m working hard in an area I love without the pressure if it being my forever plan — it’s just what I like doing right now, and that’s OK.

I can’t change the past and I’m happy where I am. But if I’d reminded myself five years ago that I didn’t have to stuff my degree into the structure suggested by my uni, I would have saved myself some stress, opened up new opportunities for myself, and had a far better experience of being at uni.