I hate to say this but I think the worst mistake I made was trading right out of school and not doing something with my new degree and high grades at that time. Trading will always be there and there will always be good and bad times. If you are doing something else you have the option of just trading the "good times". Right after school was the time when I had the most flexiblity and opportunities to do something to gain real experiences and skills. However it was in the late 90's so I got caught up in the hype and did not realize the real odds of trading for the long term and how high the highs were or how low the lows can be. Once you get locked into trading for a few years, it can be hard to leave even if you should (as the mentality of if I can just get this I will get back on the right track start doing better) and because suddenly a lot of your options are shutdown even if you want to leave. What skills do you have that a "real job" would want after trading for awhile. I use to think it was a low risk time for someone right out of school to try trading if they could afford it. Now I think different unless it is approached with a definite exit plan, because as soon as you know it time has passed, you have not developed skills that a firm could use, as time goes by your being passed up by new graduates, and you can get trapped. Of course this is all different if you are in the 1% percent that get in and hit a homerun early on. Otherwise it can be a hard way to make a variable, sometimes great, sometimes very poor living.