Going. No, I don't regret my college years. But I could see the argument of not even going to college in the first place. With 4 years of free time and 80000 dollars or more these days, I could have done a lot of unconventional learning. I could have read 3-4 books per week (600-800 books in 4 years). Or spent that time getting good at a specific skill like video creation and editing. Then, I could have started a youtube online web show like many younger people are doing (2004 for have been the ideal starting time for something like that). Or travelling the poorest regions in Africa and writing a book. Or anything in the world really. It seems like this concept of self-education is picking up steam given the ridiculously high cost of college these days. Here are two other ways to do college: the-one-year-alternative-graduate-school-program & The Hustler's MBA.
Girls. I was lucky enough to go to a large, co-ed university with some really smart people. I was also lucky to be able to run track and cross country in the NCAA. There are so many pretty girls at track meets. They are athletic, smart, and come in all shapes and sizes. I still don’t know why I didn't end up actually asking any of them out. I was too shy and had enough on my plate with school and training to focus adequately on someone else. But I think it would have been a good testing ground before getting into the real world where it can be harder to meet people.
Appalachian Trail. I always dreamed of doing the AT. I know from hiking the John Muir Trail, that it would have been an experience that I would constantly draw upon. The summers between spring and fall semester would have been the best time in life to do it. But I needed money and experience from internships, at least that is what I thought at the time. I also had this idea that I had to run every day during the summer to be successful. While true, I was never going to make it as a pro runner so I should not have let that stop me.
Study Abroad. My first year living in Australia was filled with mental stimulation. I am still getting schooled in new ideas and ways of doing things. Studying for a semester abroad, say Chile, would have been an enlightening experience even if I did not get credit for it. And I would have mastered Spanish. Many people I work with in the mining industry are global and can speak 2-3 languages which makes me feel less superior. English will always be the standard but speaking another language can connect you with that people group that otherwise remains mostly off limits.
NOLS Semester. The same idea as the study abroad. I love the outdoors; I think I would have gained valuable skills during a semester in Alaska or the Yukon. And it would have just been a lot of fun.
Taking more credits. College is really expensive. I wish I would have taken more courses to get the most out of my tuition. The conventional method is to only take 16-18 credits per semester for 4 years, then graduate. No one ever told me you could take more if you wanted. I started taking some random courses like my last year like mountain geography and philosophy of religion as pass/fail just to mix things up a bit. I got to meet non-engineering students and expanded my brain.
Taking running too seriously. I felt obligated to run with focus for all four years. I gave it a good effort but missed out on opportunities for practice and travelling to meets. But that was really cool to experience itself. I guess that was my college experience and it was pretty awesome.
Not taking running seriously enough. I was a good runner in high school but I got destroyed daily in track practice. But I was training with some very fast guys and in the best shape of my life. It would have been the ideal time to really go for it. I wish would have really Risked It like Cam Levins.
There are so many different things a person can do. I could have done anything I wanted to do, but not everything. I think it is all working out ok.
Photo: College Graduation