(Closed) What do you wish you had done differently in your early 20’s?

posted 8 years ago in 20 Something
Post # 17
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Gone on one crazy spring break trip in college and done things I regretted :). I was kinda a goody-goody and didn’t really do anything crazy. I wish I had let loose a little bit more.

Things I DON’T regret:

1. Studying abroad in Rome for a summer. Amazing experience that I will never get to have again.

2. Doing internships in my chosen career field during the summer in college instead of being a camp counselor or lifeguard like my friends. I had a job lined up before I graduated because of the contacts and experience i made during those internships.

3. Didn’t go into any credit card debt. Never bought anything I couldn’t afford to pay off at the end of the month

4. Didn’t marry my DH in my early 20s. We started dating when I was 20, but we wanted until we were established in our careers and had achieved a lot of personal goals before we got married at age 28. It allowed us to grow as individuals (we each bought our own houses, he started a business, I traveled all over the country for work) and made our relationship so much stronger. I also know that I can support myself if I ever had to, which made me feel very empowered.



Post # 18
834 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I would definitely change how I approached college. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a university and i wasn’t about to jump into huge college debt so I opted out for an associates degree in nursing at a community college and then I went back for my 4 year degree in nursing already an RN, so I was working and had my own place already……it made me grow up fast and I never really experienced the “college life”. That’s one thing I would definitely change. 🙂


Post # 19
1664 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

This advice probably isn’t for everyone, but I actually wish I would have been less responsible.  I wish I would have given myself some rope to make mistakes and just do college stuff.  I did more than my share of partying, but I think I missed out on a lot of opportunities to travel and experience other fun stuff because I wanted my grades to be perfect, I worried about money and wouldn’t let myself go into any debt. I never let myself be spontaneous, I was very practical.

I met my husband in law school so I can’t bring myself to regret it.  If I hadn’t met him, I would say it was the worst decision I ever made.


Post # 20
1844 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

  I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying. That can definitely still apply to today!

  While in college, I wish I would have stayed at school a few more weekends than what I did. I came home too often.

  I wish I would have stood up for myself a little more. I had a low self worth for awhile. I know now that I can voice my opinions in a way that will not drive people away.

  Thankfully, I have a lot of things that I am so thankful that I did. They are:

– Move back into the dorms when I got so stressed out. I ended up meeting some lifelong friends, as well as my future fiance.

– Got some help from my university’s counseling center. I’m not good at dealing with stress/anger/conflict. That program definitely helped me. I am still not the best at it, and I really don’t like it, but I have gotten more comfortable with it.

– Switched my major instead of sticking with the first one just to finish it out.

Post # 21
2393 posts
Buzzing bee

I was very superficial and immature when I was in my early 20s. In retrospect, I wish I would have wised up a little bit more instead of behaving like 23-going-on-18.


On the other hand, I love the memories from that time of my life. I was footloose, fancy free, and not tied down by anyone or anything. I partied a great deal and I’m glad I did that too. I would not change that for anything.

Post # 22
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I wish I had  —

Been less dependant on men, emotionally and financially (“men” being an overstatement at that age).

Had even the slightest bit of savvy regarding personal finances. I was 26 when I had to take a second job to pay off debt collectors. That was the beginning of me gettig my sh*+  together, but I still feel behind my better behaving peers.

Gone into some type of therapy or personal coaching to help with self esteem and  assertiveness and direction, which probably could have warded off some of those men and money troubles and helped me make good choices and strengthen all my relationships.

Not moved in with a BF right after college.  I was in a pinch at the time, but it was quite a bigger pinch later and that was not a relationship that should have last ~gulp~ four years. I’m not against co-habitation, that was just not a promising liason and I wish I would have been more aware and in control of my situation.

I still struggle with this, but I wish I’d just been more adventurous socially and less afraid of makig friends and opening up to non-BF people. I see my friends who are so good at this and think that they’re lives are so much richer for it.





Post # 23
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’m not really old enough to be your target age so I won’t say too much, but I would like to say: Choose a college major/job based on practically and job outlook rather than what you love!!! I initially thought about doing what I would love, but then I remembered I want to eat lol. Seriously though, I have many friends who have graduated and cannot find a job. Several have had to go back to school to do what they should have just done in the first place (my DH included). He will graduate again soon, but it would have been soo nice if he had chosen this the first time around and had been working the past 2 years. I can’t blame him though. For some reason, most people I know think you should chose a career based on your interests/passion; however I don’t know anyone that this went well for (unless their passion just happened to be very practical). Just my two cents.

Post # 24
1517 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I would say nothing! All of my mistakes and decisions have led me to the most amazing life ever! I was married once before, yes it was a mistake, but would i be with Fiance now @33 if I hadn’t have married the first? It’s like that Darrius Rucker song titled “This”.

The one thing I will stress is work on yourself. Get an education. Works towards those goals now, it’s easier then waiting until you’re older!

Post # 25
928 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I wish I had:

1. Double majored in college – Humanaties + Something Useful. Ugh.

2. Spent a semester abroad

3. Continued working full time while attending Grad School – Then I wouldn’t be in all this stupid credit card debt.

4.Travelled more.

Post # 26
7769 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

Nothing.  But I can give recommendations!  Study abroad, if you have the opportunity.  It is much easier to live abroad before you are tied down, so-to-say.  I would say don’t tie yourself down too fast or too soon.  Be picky.  Think about what you want out of life, try not to be influenced by what others want of you.  Be true to yourself.

I don’t regret partying- I didn’t get to do it in HS, so it was good to get it out of my system in very early twenties.  I would do as much as you can- take opportunities and chances.  Live somewhere else!  Don’t be afraid to go off on your own, it will strengthen you as a person. 

Post # 27
5072 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

I wish I hadn’t married my (now) ex-husband

I wish I had put more money away for retirement.  I put some aside but I wish it was more.  The years really do fly by. .  .

I wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself.  I’m much more forgiving at 42 than I was at 22.  Be your own best friend!

Post # 28
400 posts
Helper bee

Not date so many terrible guys!!!!

Not wait around for them to realize how great I am… and also not pass up the most amazing ones even though they might have had a tiny flaw. 

Find a hobby that you love and can do the rest of your life.

Pick a major that you love and can see yourself doing the rest of your life (AND MAKE SURE ITS USEFULL).

Stay healthy and fit.. preventative different illnesses while you can! 

And a couple other things which i really shouldnt mention 😛

Post # 29
1100 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I wish I would have finished college. I plan on going back and finishing, but it’s easier to get it done and out of the way, but instead I partied and partying interferred with night classes, and before I knew it I was skipping classes, then completely not going at all. Now I have to schedule classes around my work schedule.

Also, save, save,save. That cute dress and those shoes you have to have, well you really don’t need them. Throw the money you would spend on them in your savings, you’ll be thankful you did later. It’s so nice knowing if something happened, you still have money  in the bank.

Post # 30
869 posts
Busy bee

TRAVEL!!!!  I just about posted the link for the Aussie working holiday visa program, then I realized you’re from Australia ;).  Seriously, best time of my life.  

And, don’t waste your time with guys that are “just okay”.  Seriously, so much better to be single in your 20s than stuck in a mediocre relationship. 🙂

Post # 31
907 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I loved my early 20’s, but I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying and stressing about things.  There are a few things I wish I would’ve done differently:

1) I was an English major which I loved, but I wish I had taken a few business classes and just learned more about the world of work and money.  I just wanted to volunteer and do meaningful things which is great, but I think I could’ve avoided a lot of stress if I had understood more about how to make money. 

2) I wish I had studied abroad.  I did get to take a couple of volunteer/mission trips which were amazing, but I wish I had done an actual study abroad program

3) If I were in my early 20’s again, I’d go out dancing a LOT!  I definately went out, but I should’ve gone out a lot more than I did.

I’d just encourage you to pursue some of your interests and have fun (that’s what’s so awesome about your early 20’s–freedom and a long life ahead of you!), but definately do some serious career exploring and maybe take some classes on personal finance.  And don’t worry too much!

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