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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

What I Wish I Could Change About My College Experience

Despite the continuous ups and downs, the COVID-19 pandemic and many other things that have happened over the last (almost) four years, I would say that overall, I have really enjoyed my time at UW-Madison. That being said, there are a few things that looking back, I wish I could change. To all the Baby Badgers reading this, learn from my mistakes and make the most of your four years, because (at the risk of sounding like a cliché and a broken record) they go by so fast.

1. Get involved in things that interest you early 

I went into my freshman year extremely overwhelmed, and I ended up choosing to not get involved in student organizations. I also ended up signing up for things my friends were interested in rather than branching out on my own to try things I thought I might like. This led me to not being involved in things I was passionate about until my junior year, when we got back to campus after my sophomore year of online school due to the pandemic. I wish I had gotten out of my comfort zone earlier, and I encourage you to do so, because it’s a great way to meet new people and build your resume. If you’re not sure what your interests are, that’s okay! Try something that sounds interesting even if none of your friends think it’s cool.

2. Take advantage of campus services and resources

There are SO MANY free services on campus, and I’m honestly not sure that anyone can say that they have fully utilized every single one. I would recommend becoming familiar with everything offered, whether academic, health and fitness related, or any other category of activity to make sure that your tuition is worth it. I have an article all about the services that UW-Madison offers that I love, so check this out and make sure that you’re taking full advantage of these things. I especially started to utilize the professional and career related resources like Success Works, networking events on Handshake and other career related services later than some people, and I wish I had started sooner.

3. Take every opportunity to be social and do fun things

When is the next time you’re going to be living within walking distance of your best friends, incredible restaurants and endless activities? I think that coming out of the pandemic made me realize how little time I had left on campus, and it has lit a fire in me to make sure that I am spending time with my friends and doing fun stuff as much as my social battery can handle. This isn’t to say you need to go out every day or put fun before school work and rest, but the next time someone wants to watch the sunset at the Union or go on a hot girl walk around the capital, say yes. Better yet, be the friend that invites others to do these things and encourage those around you to make the most of this time to soak up the beauty of Madison while you are all here together.

4. Take advantage of the WHOLE campus

Go into as many buildings as possible. I’m not kidding. Just because you’re not in a chemistry class doesn’t mean you can’t take full advantage of the new, beautiful chemistry building! I have found that sometimes people forget that just because they aren’t in SoHE, the School of Human Ecology, does not mean that they don’t need to explore that building. It is one of the most beautiful buildings on campus. Appreciate every aspect of this campus and make sure you check out the newer, nicer buildings like Microbial Sciences, SoHE, Chemistry and a classic, the Business School, to find little study spots that get you out of your everyday routine. 

5. Stop worrying about what others think

I think this is more of a lifelong regret rather than something just contained to college, but I have found that it applies to a lot of things in the college setting as well. Ask questions in class, sing at karaoke, wear sweatpants every day, join a club your friends think sounds boring, literally do whatever you want and don’t let anyone tell you that something you enjoy is weird or uncool. I know this is a lot easier said than done and is something I am still working on, but from experience, I can tell you just how exhausting it is to constantly be worried about what people think of you. 

While my time at UW-Madison is coming to an end, and I don’t regret very many things, maybe you can learn from the few things I would change. I won’t say it is the best four years of your life, because then I would start to sound really cliché, but it will be a very interesting and fun time in your life so make the most of it!

Mali Kruckenberg

Wisconsin '23

Hi! My name is Mali and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in Political Science and Communication Arts. I love exploring new restaurants and stores around the Madison area and reading. My favorite Her Campus articles to read from other writers are articles detailing their experiences as college women and how they have learned and grown from their experiences.