You Get to Redo College

The question is simple: if you could go and redo college, what changes/different decisions would you have made in your pursuit of a high finance career? It can literally be anything from which group of friends you surrounded yourself with to what type of internships you did/didn't do, or hell even choosing a different school to go to. Anything that happened/didn't happen during your college career. If you didn't go to college, do you regret it? I'm very interested to here what changes people would make in their path (if any).

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Comments (121)

Apr 27, 2017 - 1:28pm

I came to the US as an international student and studying at the university here was a dream come true. I went to an average school and probably wouldn't qualify to go anywhere else with my below average SAT and Toefl (English was not my first or even second language).

I wish someone would've advised me to retake my SAT during my first 2 years of college so that I could transfer to a more prestigious school. Only in my junior year I realized that a lot of job opportunities were simply not open to me due to my school, and it was kind of late to change anything. I don't even think there is any graduate who is working on Wall Street from my school, so networking wasn't also an option!

I am now planning to apply to top MBA programs to get a stamp on my resume and open myself to more opportunities and better network.

Apr 27, 2017 - 3:30pm

breaking out of single digit lays has been harder than breaking into wall street

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
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Apr 27, 2017 - 2:55pm

Definitely wouldn't go to a nontarget again -- while I like the larger school feel, the non-existent OCR is a huge pain, and having almost no alumni on the street meant I could count the first rounds I got on one hand. I'd make sure to apply to semi-targets like UMich, UVA, UNC, UT, USC, if I could do it again (wouldn't get into a target with my high school extracurriculars).

I'd also probably have rushed, done an internship every year, and only been in 1 good finance club and 1 fun regular club, instead of being in 4 poor-quality business societies.

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May 7, 2017 - 3:16pm

UT is a target school for Houston & NY

Got the impression when I was recruiting that if you were at a target that wasn't UT or A&M you were at a disadvantage for Houston recruitment

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
May 2, 2017 - 3:56pm

Realistically I feel like this is the most tangible thing (or set of things) I should have done and the most attainable for bright kids in the larger states that have good states schools, but primarily UVA, UMich, UNC, UT, and maybe a few others. After that, focus on 1-2 clubs that were actually relevant and had also done more intramural sports. I would have also looked into adding computer science as a minor just to be more marketable.

The amount of friends I had that got interviews based off of Greek life alone was truly astounding too, so I feel like I should have bit the bullet on dues and gone that way too.

Having a dad as a former general contractor, I should have also bought up a lot of properties with him and rented them out to students to kickstart a real estate career.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Jan 9, 2020 - 4:18pm

unrelated - SB'd for username.

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
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Apr 27, 2017 - 3:12pm

I received an offer/scholarship from MS S&T for my junior year SA internship and another offer from SL Green (acquisitions). I chose a MM IB SA internship instead. I wish I frequented this forum enough and asked others to weigh in on my options. I regret not preparing enough for technicals, because I blew my superdays at GS, BX, Evercore, BX PE, Gleacher, and a slew of other top shops.

I also wish I networked more intensely, reached out to alumni more often, and became more involved in on-campus societies/networks. Reflecting beyond a constructive threshold may perpetuate unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, so I try to refrain from excessively obsessing about 'what ifs' and the past. Instead I conclude that they're sunk costs, and I move forward. It can't hurt to ask and learn from the mistakes of others though, albeit it may be harder to implement solutions if you don't experience mistakes/consequences firsthand.

Apr 27, 2017 - 3:32pm

In hindsight, I love the friends and relationships I made college because that's what basically helped develop my character to this day.

I would have pursued the same nontarget college, done better in school (in terms of gpa & understanding finance material), pursued internships early and expose myself to more networking opportunities not just held in at my college but also local events with industry professionals.

Apr 27, 2017 - 4:57pm

Take a gap year between high school and college. Plenty of opportunity to do cool thing during that time and a year of perspective would have been a good thing.

After that hustle and get into a top ivy league school, it's still amazing to me how many opportunities are afforded to people just because of the name of the ugrad institution.

With all that being said, I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out, so no real regrets

Apr 27, 2017 - 9:16pm

Read another post on here about how UG target is starting to matter less and less as technology is slowly going to make its way so much into finance that it'll be more about sales than anything else, so the companies are looking for employees with excellent social skills rather than top UG. Thoughts...?

Apr 28, 2017 - 2:01am

Meh I'm not convinced. Maybe in the long run, but I don't think you'll see a big shift in the next few decades. Even if tech completely infiltrates finance they'll still want "smart" people being social and those will end up being people from top schools. Sure maybe a few more will be able to make it from other places, but in the few jobs I've had since graduation and from what I've seen anecdotally, the alums from top schools pull hard for their own school across the board.

May 1, 2017 - 3:17am

the companies are looking for employees with excellent social skills rather than top UG. Thoughts...?

College prestige and social skills are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of personable and charming Ivy kids that can schmooze their asses off.

May 8, 2017 - 1:12am

THIS. I went to work in real estate after high school for a few years and eventually ended up at JLL/CW/CBRE running my own book of business on an investment sales team a few years later. Headed back to school this fall. Will leave with zero debt.

This opened a whole new world of relationships and opportunity for me in my industry. However, I would say the perspective is the most important thing I've gained walking away from my gap years. I have a much more clear focus for my studies and overall sense of maturity. I don't think I would've been mature enough to attend UG at 17 years old out of school. PS, it makes for a pretty cool story to tell in interviews.

I had a flair for languages. But I soon discovered that what talks best is dollars, dinars, drachmas, rubles, rupees and pounds fucking sterling.
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Apr 27, 2017 - 9:26pm

Can't believe idaho poured his heart out on this thread and admitted that he's still a virgin. Dude's probably crying in his room right now with a cornstalk way deep in his ass.

Apr 27, 2017 - 9:45pm

I'm thinking I'll go play COD from my mom's basement and yell at the other kids on Xbox Live. I'm gonna turn off my computer too because you can't cyberbully me if I'm not on the internet!

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
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Apr 28, 2017 - 10:08am

After my first year with a 3.9 gpa, I would have made a transfer from non target FSU to a more target university like Michigan, Virginia, Texas, or UNC. Then I would have dropped accounting all together, and would have focused heavily on that easy joke of a major known as finance. Doing a double major in accounting with the dumbest decision I ever made, and will probably haunt me far down the line when I decide to apply for an MBA. It's the difference between me having a 3.6ish and a 3.18 gpa. lesson learned? It pays to be a winner.

Apr 28, 2017 - 10:23am

it worked out in the end. I found out that I'm really good at the military, and that I have a high tolerance for bullshit. Hopefully the interesting work experience as an aviator offsets my crappy gpa and lets me get that HSW.... or at least an m7 one day

May 2, 2017 - 6:27pm

I'm on the other side of that situation and I think my dual major has helped me the most out of anything so far in UG. It's the only reason I've had 90% of my interviews and why I've been invited to recruitment events.

Apr 29, 2017 - 12:45pm

It would have been impossible to know these people back then, but somehow get hired into my current group in commodities straight out of college.

I honestly don't think I was hard-working or smart enough back then, but I think I could have been one of the BSDs in my market by now if I had started straight out of college.

Best Response
Apr 29, 2017 - 1:13pm

I'd recognize that college has little to do with learning, and everything to do with credentials and pedigree. My goal would therefore be to get the highest GPA possible in a reasonable major (e.g. business, accounting, econ or something) with the least amount of effort. I would only take the easiest classes with professors that had reputations for being lenient and handing out inflated grades. I would accept nothing less than an A on every test, and would regularly meet with the professor or TA to make sure that happened. If, despite my efforts, it appeared I was going to get below an A, I would drop the course. I would care zero about "looking smart," or trying to prove anything in the classroom because I'd understand that is a colossal waste of time and effort. The only thing that matters is the number next to the letters "GPA".

With all my free time, I would learn real things on the side -- finance, programming, advanced math, etc., but I would do it via online tools like Khan Academy, Coursera, or Udacity, where I could learn using actually effective pedagogical techniques and without worry about tests or damage to my GPA.

I'd also have more time to socialize and enjoy typical college extra curricular activities, which I would to a much greater extent than I did the first time around.

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May 2, 2017 - 2:31pm

Isn't it sad that the last time pure learning/ academic skills matter in real life is High School, and after that everyone effectively tries to judge you on how smart they perceived you to be in HIgh school (SAT scores, college prestige, etc). I'm almost 30 and people still want to see the test scores I got when I was 16, literally half a lifetime ago. I'm lucky they were good, but would have accepted nothing less than perfect if i'd known they'd stick this long

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May 5, 2017 - 12:38pm

Transferring from a semi target to an Ivy. Our schools resume template doesn't have any SAT/ACT or HS info. I've noticed that it's pretty common for people form targets to have their scores on? Is this required? How would anyone verify that


May 2, 2017 - 9:12pm

"Don't let school interfere with your education."

Jan 9, 2020 - 3:15pm

This is ridiculously ineffective. Why not just take classes you are interested in (eg advanced math as you mention), and that way your hard work in school does not go to waste? From personal experience, most of the time people claiming professors are bad are actually not studying these subjects enough / lack the ability.

Jan 9, 2020 - 4:02pm

There isn't a better answer on this website, or the internet. This is the answer.

(1) GPA protect
(2) Learn core skills via Khan, Udemy, CFI
(3) Network like a banshee and fill your resume with internships with name brands. Start your sophmore year. Do it for free if you have to.
(4) Join a social fraternity. It means you know how to politic, and have social skills.

I see hundreds of resumes come through the door. At first glance I look at GPA to see it's above a 3.5 (3.3 bare minimum, there are some late bloomers out there), then experience (IB/Finance specific at a place I've heard of). I look to see if they have technical certifications or training in modeling/excel/Office Suite. Then I look to see if they were in a social organization. If they check those boxes, they automatically go in the phone call pile.

Can't tell you how many 3.9-4.0's walk through the door with no relevant experience, or even an idea of what investment banking is. Super smart kids who probably busted their ass for a few cords on graduation day, and not much more.

Be experienced. Be useful. Be social.

As far as schools go, I mean targets get OCIs. However, if you go to a state school (Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, etc...) and can check the above boxes I'll take you all day over some kid from an Ivy who has a stick up his ass, no idea what finance is, and no actual skillset. They usually work harder, and stick in banking rather than head out to PE after 2 years. We're getting smarter on this. We're not AAA Private Equity.

Apr 29, 2017 - 1:57pm

I am not finished yet but I would definitely go to class more to pump up the marks, play more intramural sports, talk to girls my first year, not get my fake id taken away, participate more in the schools finance club, not be so afraid of upper year students and hustle harder while trying to get my first two internships

Apr 30, 2017 - 12:26am

Less studying, more partying, more gaming the system rather than trying to be hardcore with academics, extracuriculars, etc

May 1, 2017 - 3:57am

I would have simply enjoyed the social aspects a lot more.

It really is taken for granted how easy it was to see your close group of friends regularly for meals, sporting events, parties, etc. and once you get out in the working world and realize that unless your friends are in the same line of work, or in the same city, you simply won't see them as much.

College is such a great period of someones life, especially in comparison to formatting 100+ hours a week.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'
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May 1, 2017 - 6:54am

Pretty easy and that would be to not do my Masters in ME and went to law school instead.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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May 1, 2017 - 2:01pm

While I caveat this by saying that things largely worked out for me (so not too fussed about any of this now):

  1. I'd go to one of the targets I got into out of HS instead the state school I went to
  2. If I still went to said state school, I'd stay for the full four years and do the combined MSF (instead of graduating in two years, working for a year, and then having to go to an MSF program that ended up canceling out all the savings associated with graduating early)
  3. I'd have double majored in stats and econ

Interestingly, the latter two mistakes were made despite the fact that I was advised on both points on several occasions. Despite 'proving' those people wrong (in the sense that they're dire predictions of failure never came true), I frequently wonder why the hell I insisted on making things difficult for myself --> said another way, I need to do a better job of taking advice in the spirit offered, not as a challenge or comment on my abilities

Life's is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
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May 2, 2017 - 11:58am

So much, so much I would change.

I would've actually gone to community college for two years, busted my ass off and transferred to a semi-target. No chance at a target because of HS. I would've joined a frat as well and more involved with student organizations and instead of working part-time as a sales associate for Verizon, would have focused more on getting internships, volunteering experience and taking more classes I'm interested in, history, philosophy, religion.

There are two things I've noticed when it comes to the world of finance, consulting, and tech. Name of college and GPA is all people care.

May 2, 2017 - 12:24pm

Yea this is kind of idealistic, depending on your idea of a "semi-target"

First off, you can't really join any frat if you transfer in junior year. And if you went to a mediocre semi-target, taking too many liberal arts classes is probably not a good decision.

May 2, 2017 - 1:52pm

Majored in Comp Sci and not have pursued a high finance career

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Feb 4, 2018 - 6:21pm

Haven't graduated yet, but wish I would've traveled more (i.e. study abroad, international tour during semester breaks). I know once I graduate and begin working I won't have the time to travel for a couple years. Thoughts from anyone who's studied abroad?

May 3, 2017 - 8:39am

I highly recommend this.... if you have a job lined up. I went during my final semester of school, and didn't have a job lined up.... that was a very bad idea. I got home broke as could be, living back in small town florida, getting a whole bunch of job rejections. Your actual time over there will be the best time of your life, especially if you go somewhere like italy

May 7, 2017 - 2:16pm

Absolutely study abroad if you can. I'm sure you've heard this before, but literally everyone cites not studying abroad as a major regret. It's almost comical how much I hear it, yet many of my friend and peers still didn't take the opportunity when it arose.

I studied abroad and had a blast, but almost didn't because I was so focused on getting a good job for the summer. My rationale was that getting a BB summer internship was more important, that I could always travel blah blah. Luckily for me, my parents pushed me to go.

When it comes down to it, you're very much unencumbered during your undergrad years and living and studying in another country is a tremendous experience that can almost never be replicated again. People will BS and say that they traveled after graduation so that counts as studying abroad but it really doesn't. Having to live day to day in another country is very unique and undergrad is a perfect time to go and try this out.

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:22pm

How would you do college differently? (if you were starting all over) (Originally Posted: 05/25/2015)

Hey all -

I have a younger sibling going into college soon. Wanted to share a few key pieces of advice with them about how to make the most of their experience. Figured I would tap into the wisdom of the crowd here and ask all of you who are attending or have already graduated - how would you do college differently?

I'm interested in 2 key things:

1. Things you wish you had known or done while you were in college (imagine you could talk to yourself at age 18)
2. Things that you did right in college that that you wouldn't ever change

Thanks all. Would really appreciate the insight.

I'm going to clean up all the submissions and share the final compilation in a few weeks on WSO and on my site (AYA). Though this week we're focused on college students, AYA is focused on curating the best advice for ambitious 20somethings and making it actionable. - feel free to sign up and ping me with questions. Curating the best advice and making it actionable.

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Feb 4, 2018 - 6:26pm
M- Weintraub:

1. Not joined a frat
2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

What were your big regrets around Greek life? Curating the best advice and making it actionable.

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:42pm
M- Weintraub:

1. Not joined a frat
2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

I disagree. I worked a lot during college. I really wish I had took on additional debt and put my time towards GPA. Spent 4 years digging myself out of back office work, which cost me way more than the amount of money I made during college.

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:25pm
  1. Close the deal THAT NIGHT. A number is cool but I think Like 60% of them went nowhere.

  2. I'd major in finance again

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Feb 4, 2018 - 6:28pm

Not have followed my high school girlfriend the college she wanted to attend, a non-target none the less...
Would have taken more accounting (preferably minored in it)

Would absolutely join Greek Life again

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."
Feb 4, 2018 - 6:30pm

Would absolutely join Greek Life again

This, 100%.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:31pm

wouldn't have:
- attended my work hard-work hard fuckhole of a school
- attended a school nowhere near downtown
- majored in bio coming in and tried econ

would have:
- taken a joke major from the get-go
- networked like hell early on
- gotten laid during o-week
- gone to UT and been able to look at gorgeous people 24/7

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
Feb 4, 2018 - 6:32pm

Wouldn't have:
- Turned down the opportunity to transfer to a top school for slight increase in cost (this was also a change of country and career path)
- Lied to myself for a year about still wanting to pursue medicine
- Let go of friendships too easily - While chasing a opportunities I said good bye to too many people
- Regret the mistakes I make
-Study so hard as a freshman/sophomore

-Study abroad for 1.5 years - Everything in my life is better because of those 1.5 years... turned me into someone with the social skills to get a banking job from a state school
-Study foreign languages
-Would double major in something practical (Finance) and something I enjoyed (fairly "useless" language)
-Stay healthy

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:34pm

Wouldn't have:

  1. Completely ignored classes I didn't care about, thus getting a terrible GPA
  2. Spent so much time in relationships. Being single in college is fantastic. Always had more fun, and it's not like I'm still with the girls I seriously dated then.

Should have:

  1. Transferred after two years (along with that higher GPA)
  2. Studied abroad. Never got around to it.
  3. Been a business major

Wouldn't change:

  1. Going Greek
  2. Getting involved in student leadership
  3. Getting drunk regularly, having a lot of pre-marital, staying fit and generally enjoying the experience

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:37pm

Would have been more mercenary about my degree; graduate in 3 years, taken state school classes to build up cheaper credits, not worried so much about 'friends for life' even though I have them.

Networked harder, internships, a clear post-graduation career path. A good plan would have offset much of the benefit of my private college education.

Would Not have changed;
1. Being a 4 year collegiate athlete
2. Waiting for Mrs. Right - not a minute of regret in not chasing skirts for the sake of it.
3. Gotten the hell away from my crappy home town/state

Global buyer of highly distressed industrial companies. Pays Finder Fees Criteria = $50 - $500M revenues. Highly distressed industrial. Limited Reps and Warranties. Can close in 1-2 weeks.
Feb 4, 2018 - 6:38pm

Would have been more mercenary about my degree; graduate in 3 years, taken state school classes to build up cheaper credits, not worried so much about 'friends for life' even though I have them.

The part about friends surprises me - do you think that you would've gotten the same quality of relationships even if you invested less time/effort? Curating the best advice and making it actionable.

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:39pm

To be honest I wish I went to a more fratty environment type school in a warmer area. I would kill to go back in highschool, get good grades and go to UT or USC. Those girls and parties OH MY GOD.

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:40pm

Would change:
-start networking a little earlier
-get more involved on campus

Definitely wouldn't change
-greek life
-studying abroad
-partying / doing dumb stuff. You only get 4 years

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:43pm

Would have:
Lived on campus all 4 years
Been more career oriented from the start
I made a goal to attend every class (which I did) and I think it really helped me to stay focused even when my work ethic was not nearly as strong as my discipline
Maintained my work ethic through my senior year
Complete a minor in a subject that really interests me

Wouldn't have:
Joined a frat - never did and never regretted it
Over committed myself
Gone home so much
Moved off campus after sophomore year

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Feb 4, 2018 - 6:44pm

I'd be more open minded, less of a self-righteous arse. Particularly when it came to social & political beliefs.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
Feb 4, 2018 - 6:47pm
  1. Keep my studying habits/motivation
  2. Stress less
  3. Talk to girls more and not be afraid
    4.Lift Freshmen year
  4. Get an internship freshmen year summer
  5. For the love of God, wish I would have studied abroad for a term/summer

I am 21 and going to be a senior

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:48pm

Would not change:
Study abroad for 1.5 years again (no regrets whatsoever)
Join a frat
Work a lot including internships and pad my resume

Would change:
Live with friends off-campus
Study more, higher GPA
Major in something else
Date and party more

Feb 4, 2018 - 6:49pm
  1. Would love to care more about my GPA so I could at least try to jump over the GPA thresholds when applying for a job
  2. Pretty much everything else, including majoring in Finance and joining organization and committees instead of winning competitions
Fortes fortuna adiuvat.
May 3, 2017 - 4:41pm

I graduated with a sub 2.5 gpa. So probably not party as much and get at least middling 3.5 grades.

May 4, 2017 - 6:33am

Major in CS instead of Mechanical engineering. I'm really going to regret this till the end.

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May 5, 2017 - 10:39pm

Yes ECE (electrical & computer engineering) is another option where you also get to learn about hardware too. But I think ECE is way more challenging than CS (software only) option.

May 7, 2017 - 5:28pm

Moved to NC, VA, TX, or CA to do my 2 years of junior college so that my 4.0 would have been impressive enough to admissions at their semi-targets to warrant more than a wait-list followed by a rejection.

I like where I'm at, but that still pisses me off.

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

May 7, 2017 - 7:35pm

I would redo high school to tell you the truth. I was always smart but never applied myself (teachers would say if you only applied yourself and focused your energy the right way) in one ear and out the other..... and at that time had no idea I wanted to be a banker. I would kill it in HS and go to a target school in the tri-state area for networking purposes. Would have made recruiting easier especially the way I killed my undergrad studies (the day I graduated hs I vowed to never make the same mistakes in college) but thats the past and no use in dwelling it doesn't help and I think it actually hurts you....just learn and move on.....always keep moving forward.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.
May 7, 2017 - 7:58pm

I'd love to go back to high school, slap my old self in the face and then give them a huge lecture (+ action plan) on acing exams for my scottish qualifications. I spent so much time trying to 'fit in' and that meant not doing work or not being serious about revision but rather buying into the toxic attitude of "it doesn't matter". Still shaking that off now.

Hell, I would even go further back and prioritise getting back into a private school because I realised too late just how terrible my public high school was once it was too late. Unfortunately, money was an issue even though I had a few offers to join some strong private schools given my father passed away and mother lost her cushy HR job - going from upper middle class to barely affording meals at the age of 13 practically overnight.

Ended up underachieving significantly in the last year of school due, mostly, to teachers completey disregarding official coursework deadlines rendering 50% of my grade in most subjects as a 0. Took a gap year to save up money and try to sort my life out as a result.. Things were going well, I had offers from target schools and was on course to achieve my goals. Except, teaching yourself 2 years worth of courses in a year turned out to be impossible and I developed depressive thoughts from not having any friends nearby in that year. Que next failure. Missed target school conditions. Ended up at a non-target.

Currently at that non-target, have high grades and a fantastic social life sure but the clubs here, the alumni, the companies coming on campus are all significantly subpar - virtually no-one here goes into finance proper. So, realising this, I applied to transfer to a slew of semi-target universities stressing my story so far and my recent academic strength: as a result one out of five of them gave me a chance with the caveat of restarting my degree. I'll be starting there this September, aged 20, having experienced a shit-ton of obstacles to get there and I couldn't be happier :)

Sure people who left school at a similar time to me will be graduating uni next year but that means nothing to me; onwards and upwards!

TL;DR, I would have focused more in high school or moved to a much better school to avoid​ the shitstorm of what was to follow.

May 8, 2017 - 3:44am

Repost from another thread, found it more fitting here.

I basically did everything life threw in my general direction during my undergrad. Probably one of my greatest regrets, as I'm stuck with a shit UG gpa that will haunt me for some time. Obviously, the best is to find that sweet, sweet balance. However, most people tend to go all in either way. For me I went all in on partying, and ended up miserable. I have friends that went all in on studies/career and ended up miserable. Now doing my masters I'm back on the other side of the scale doing banking hours in the library, trying to off-set my UG with a solid Grad gpa. Although I have had tons of fun, I can't help feeling like I've pissed away my early 20s only to end up bitter. All endeavours have diminishing returns on utility.

If you are honest with your self, work hard and smart, but ultimately focus on happiness I think you will end up where you should be.

If I could do it all again i would:
1. Actively try to find what career path may suit you, this does not just happen by it self. Since you're on WSO I'm guessing you have this one covered, most students don't.

  1. Work a steady 9-5 with studies during the semester, banking hours before finals. Get that fucking gpa. University is a credibility builder, do everything you can to get the best grades possible with least time spent. Spend time outside studying to actually learn what you need for your career. (Modeling, non-academic finance, etc.)

  2. Go out more, drink less. Alot of the gpa grinders have trash social skills because they have not worked on them. You work on social skills by being social, go figure. The kids that have been partying all their UG can probably talk circles around 90% of the top gpas. Try to go out more often (yes, really), but drink way less.
    Find your sweet spot where you can still get up by 8 the next day and do the 9-5. Scandinavian drinking culture may be excessive on this, but a liter of vodka 2-3 times a week does not do you any good. You have so much time on your hands as a student if you are productive. You can go out for drinks every day of the week and still crunch more hours than needed to get a 4.0. The problem arises when you barely get past the hangover from the last bender as you're getting ready for the next pre-party.

Find a "mentor" that can show you the shortcuts at your school. Which courses are easy but decent, what to focus on, where to apply, how to optimally use your time during your grad. Every school is different, but they all have shortcuts. For example, in my uni the normal course route is really suboptimal for getting a good gpa. If you mix around some courses and line up the calendar nicely, you can probably crank out 20% more exams per year, leaving you room to retake some if you don't get an A.
Longer post than intended, hope someone finds it useful.

May 13, 2017 - 4:33pm

So much I would do over, but it really would require me to go back to High School and re-do that portion of my life. I despised HS and my GPA showed that as I only got a 3.0 GPA thanks to a senior year that required little effort. My careless attitude towards HS required me to go to community college, which I suppose worked out better because I saved time and money deciding WTF I actually wanted to do. At CC, I should have done more extracurriculars.

As for school after CC, I would have done even more research into schools before choosing a top state school. I fell in love with that place when I visited. When I got back home from the visit, I got the email from the school saying I was accepted, which probably gave me too much of "it was destined to be" feeling. I ended up staying only semester due to my failure to accurately assess my student loan obligations at the school among other personal issues.

My final school was a local private college. I lived at home, went to school full time, and worked part time. I should have been more active in extracurriculars and done more internships (only had 1 at a tiny WM office), but I had tunnel-vision to just get my degree done after my previous experiences.

To wrap up my re-do wish list:

1) Do better in HS, which would have opened more doors to getting into colleges
2) Get an accurate look at what financial aid I would get and explore options for possibly finance debt. That is important because it directly affect which colleges to attend in #3.
3) Research 25 colleges and universities that intrigue me and then start whittling down the list to 10 or so that I would have been willing to attend. This might be dependent on financial aid, debt load after college, etc. so a narrow list might leave one with few options.
4) Get involved in extracurricular activities to build a network, make friends, enlarge my social circle, etc. Networking is one of my weakest skills and I regret not doing more.
5) Study abroad at all costs. I had a chance to do this multiple times, but never pulled the trigger because the $$$ deterred me. Everyone I've met that studied abroad said it was worth it. No one's fault, but my own on this one.

Sorry if this is a bit long!

Jan 9, 2020 - 9:36pm

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