4 Great Undergraduate Regrets

I have always had four great regrets from my 3.5 years as an undergraduate student.

I know, I know: “No regrets!” Right?

It is disingenuous at best to say that we don’t earnestly regret some of our choices.

SchoolIt doesn’t do us any good to dwell on them, sure, yet it can do us good to realize that we have them and use that information to make better choices.

We cannot recreate our past and fix regrets but we can create a better future with the knowledge of what we wish we had done.

I’ve decided to focus more posts here on my “why?” Why be IN? Why challenge? Why go? I think it educational for me as well as hopefully inspirational and informative for you.

Allora, let’s start with my present: Why am I doing this work/study/internship in Florence?

A great deal of my why to say “hell yeah” to Firenze is dealing with my great regrets from my first time matriculating. So without further ado, here are my big 4:

4 – Not taking Art History

The simplest and most straightforward. I enjoy art. I’ve spent many a day at the Met. I loved “Sacre Bleu” I’ve done tours and sat in on guest lectures about art and artists. I get sidetracked by statues. I spend a long, long time staring at pieces that I like.

Byzantine Tile

For whatever young-and-dumb reason, I didn’t take a single Art History or Art Appreciation class in college.

I like what I like but it is fairly uneducated. I always wished I had a better understanding of the nuances of artistry. My parents tried to make up of this lapse a few years ago by giving me “The History of Art” textbook but I barely cracked the cover. I enjoy learning when I am placed in situations to learn. Not putting myself in the situation to be educated (read: forced study) was and is a regret.

Now, oh boy do I have the chance to learn.

My retention still leaves much to be desired but I believe that will come with practice. I look forward to testing that theory on class trips and the Art History Class I’m dropping– or walking as it were — in on.

3 – Not majoring in something other than Television

VideoI was a tv production major for I knew with the certitude of youth that I wanted to make tv for the rest of my days. I started working on that career in High School and Sesame Street was the goal.

I worked mostly outside of school on internships and “real-world” experience as I had the (true) conception that it mattered little about my degree and mattered a great deal about my experience.

I flirted with the idea of becoming an English Major as I was challenged more by — and hence enjoyed more — those classes. Even then I knew it was an opportunity missed, I stayed as a TV because it was easy. Honestly, I had access to better equipment and was pushed more in High School but at a certain point I just wanted the degree and to be done with school.

I have joked for a while “I wish I had majored in philosophy or something…” I should have majored in anything that would have broadened my mind while I was getting my tv experience outside the classroom anyway.

Now, she who never thought she would go to grad school is pursuing an MLIS and discusses philosophy on trains while traveling through Tuscany. An English major couldn’t have written a better kismatic sourjourn.

2 – Not taking a language (seriously)

Because of #3, I was not required to take a real foreign language. In the Journalism department, my computer classes sufficed as programming “languages.” If I had double-majored in English I would have been required to take a real language but alas, again I took the easy way out.

I did register 3 times for French. And three times, after the first class, I dropped the early, daily course. I didn’t have the real desire or pressure to learn, so I skidded out.

It is funny now how much French I am realizing that I know because I keep trying to use it here. There is a great amount of cross-over but the pronunciation is proving to be a hurdle.

Just being here for two weeks I know I have picked up so much but I know I have a great deal to go. I am working at it though and I am grateful for the pressure and real desire to learn it now. Even in the weeks leading up to my flight I didn’t make learning Italian a priority.

Now, I desperately want to be able to communicate and so am putting in the time. I even made flash cards for myself last night.

1 – Not Studying Abroad

Florence from FiesoleWell, “duh.”

Despite a wanderlust harkening back to the early trips I was privileged enough to do in my youth to the USSR and France, I chose to graduate a semester early instead of going abroad for a semester (or year).

I wanted to be done with school. I chose the passive course. I had whispers that I was making a colossal error but I ignored my soul’s warnings and chose the well-worn path I thought would provide safety and security.

I didn’t even listen to my 16-year-old self who said “even if I meet someone and fall in love in college, true love will wait while I live on my own for a year”

In all, I did what was easier and this led to my great regrets.

Even though the signs were there, of course I can only see clearly in hindsight. But those are the steps that lead me to my current place.

The missed opportunities and ignored desires shed light on why I sought out, pursued and leapt at this chance. And why I am living it to the hilt.

Timing is everything

It might be too late to give my 18 year old self a stern talking to about what I might regret later, but it isn’t ever too late to take leaps at chances to fill the gaps of our past.

Tumblr Photo Posted September 08, 2012 at 04:07PM

I do believe that I came to Florence — “making up” for all those regrets — exactly when I was meant to.

I doubt I would have appreciated the experiences of learning, exploring and growing as much as an undergrad as I do now.

I value this opportunity more because I regretted for so long.

Plus now I have the confidence and sense of self that comes with age and allows me to fully have arms, eyes, mind and soul open to this opportunity.

Because I have a healthy appreciation for my well-earned regrets, I can now fully…

Be IN,

Jo Signature


PS This is my 100th Post on CBB. Crazy and good feeling that.




  1. Sounds like you are having a blast in Firenze!

    #1 is big. While I did do a short 5 week summer course after my Junior year in Italy, I really wish I would have also stayed the extra semester instead of graduating early and go abroad.

    I also wish I would have just stayed in Europe that summer to backpack around for a couple of months. Instead I came home and just sat around at home, no work…nothing.

    I’ve spent quite literally 10s of thousands of dollars traveling to make up for it through shorter trips. Granted, I probably would have spent the money anyway but I’ll never really know.

  2. I am having a great time, thanks Ryan. And yes, we never really know how life would have turned out “if only.” I’m sure you appreciate all your many travels all the more because you see the missed opportunity way back when. C’est la vie — need to learn that one in Italian. I hope that our paths cross out there on the road somewhere soon.

  3. Not doing a semester abroad is one of my big regrets too! I’m glad you’re making up for it now. I’m hoping to make up for it in the next year as well.

    • I have talked to a great many who also share the regret but too few actually do anything about it. Good for you for trying to make up for it too! I cannot over-express how happy I am I took this leap and am here. Hope to hear wonderful things of your adventures as well!


  1. […] I’ve lived a few different lives in the past 6 years. I’ve experimented, changed direction, moved locations, switched career paths and now am making up for some long held regrets. […]

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