I Made These Mistakes During My College Years – and Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

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I’ve heard someone say that “youth is wasted on the young”, and I must admit, it was true for me.

So here I am, older, and perhaps a bit more mature (although I’m still making mistakes I may write about in another 5 years). I’ve made a list to commemorate my past follies, in hopes that those reading this would learn from my mistakes. For those who can relate, well, you’re not alone.

1. Buying too many earrings

To the 50 pairs of earrings I’ve bought but never worn more than once or twice: I’m sorry.

I mean, who can resist the 3-for-RM10 promotions at every jewellery kiosk in the malls back then? (I’m not sure what’s the price now). Perhaps it was impulse buying, perhaps I was obsessed with looking good, or perhaps I went overboard in trying to be different. But in the end, all those earrings amounted to nothing – I’ve been using the same pair of earrings for over 3 years now.

My gain: Momentary beauty (!)
My loss: $$$ and financial responsibility

2. Overspending on food

I remembered staying away from home, having an allowance of only RM250 a month. That was supposed to cover all my expenses – including my prepaid card top-up (there was no 3G then, only GPRS :D). How I could still afford fashionable clothes and expensive foods, I’ll never know.

I guess I wanted instant gratification, rather than saving the money for important matters such as my future education loan repayment (which, after 8 years of working, I’m still repaying).

Peer pressure was definitely a factor as I struggled to balance between spending wisely, versus not being left out. That being said, my friends didn’t eat expensive food all the time, but even once or twice of spending RM30 per meal would be enough to keep my meals ‘humble’ for the rest of the month.

My gain: Hunger satisfied for a few hours, a few Facebook likes
My loss: $$$, financial responsibility, good health

3. Watching too many Hong Kong dramas

You can probably guess my age by now, but back then, Hong Kong dramas were the Korean dramas of today. As a student, I’d spend a good 5-6 hours after class just binge watching Hong Kong dramas. I regretted it by my final year. I realised I didn’t benefit from all that binge-watching, and instead wasted a lot of time which I could have used on other things.

My gain: Highly improved film plot predictions
My loss: Lots of time wasted

4. Playing too much of The Sims

Source: Webpress blog

Those born in the 1980’s would be familiar with this highly addictive, life-simulation game. Although I started playing it from my high school years, I was on and off it during my college years as well.

I know people who have gone through worse and didn’t even shower for days from being addicted to this game. Whether it’s The Sims, DOTA or other RPGs (role-playing games), the key is to never get addicted.

My gain: Virtual architectural skills and virtual financial management
My loss: Lots of time wasted

5. Bad time management

Who doesn’t struggle with time management?

But it’s one thing to struggle with it and never rise above it, and quite another to be struggling at managing your time better each day. They’re different. One spells defeat, the latter spells progress.

While college life is fun, don’t focus on it too much until you forget the reason for being there – to study. It seems pretty obvious, but it’s easy to get carried away.

It shows when you’re late for classes because of a late night out with friends, or because you’re binging on the latest Netflix release. It also shows when you’re getting less-than-average results when you know you’re capable of scoring more.

To be honest, bad time management could just be a symptom. Perhaps you’re feeling apathetic, or something is keeping you from doing your best. For me, it was just my preoccupation of having fun which made me lose focus sometimes.

Whatever it is, don’t just brush it off because it’s the norm. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Bad time management will only get worse once you enter the working world.

You need to nip it in the bud. If you’re struggling with deeper issues, talk to someone reliable or see a counsellor. Bad time management is not cool.

Although company culture these days seem to emphasise on performance over hours, it’s important to be able to manage your time well. It comes from good character, and from not wanting to inconvenience others unnecessarily.

My gain: Momentary fun
My loss: Bad impression, time wasted

If you’re a college or university student, you may or may not be able to relate to these. But funnily enough, some of them reappear in other forms if we’re not careful. For example, in today’s world, The Sims could easily be Candy Crush, or Facebook.

The key to overcoming these mistakes, I feel, is moderation. None of them are truly dangerous – except when overdone.

What were some of the things you regretted doing in your college years? Tell us in the comments!

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