Yes, you’re right, it’s time for the obligatory “freshman year is over” blog post. You may have read one, three, or even twenty posts from the past about this exact topic, and you might think that at some point the topic would become overused or outdated, but it doesn’t. And that’s what so strange about it. No matter what, everyone, anyone you talk to about the fact that freshman year has ended says virtually the exact same sentence: “Where has this year gone?” It’s an incredibly scary reflection to make. It feels like yesterday was O-week, and now here we are, about to close out our first year of college.

I’m a quarter done with college, and I’m dumbfounded. As I reflect though, I figured I’d go ahead and right out my thoughts. For all those coming in, here’s my few tidbits of advice:

  1. Take advantage of covered grades!

I really can’t stress this enough. Take advantage of the opportunity to take upper level courses under a pass/fail grading system. It pays off, trust me. Take advantage of the freedom that pass/fail grades provide you: go out and explore the city, join a bunch of extracurriculars, find your rhythm and figure out how to enjoy yourself here. Covered grades are a blessing, don’t waste them.

  1. Don’t slack off

Once covered grades are gone, slacking off is a hard, and I mean terribly hard, habit to break. Slacking off also has a habit of coming back to bite you. All of us were the kids in high school who could get by with procrastinating and not taking everything especially seriously all the time. That doesn’t work anymore. Once you start to slack, material piles up, and before you know it, the next midterm or final rolls around, and you’re filled with a bunch of regrets about those Netflix binge sessions.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

This is another huge thing. College is a big change, and with big change comes new opportunities and new people. Everyone wants to meet people. Everyone is social. There’s always something new to do. Make the effort to step out of your comfort zone to try those things. You never know, it might become the thing you do for the rest of your life.

  1. Make mistakes

To clarify, this isn’t the same as being irresponsible, but you’re also in college now. Trying to meticulously plan out every aspect of how you want things to work will leave you without any excitement or spontaneity. This is a time to make mistakes and learn from them, to help you figure out how resilient you are without your family around to constantly back you up. Mistakes help you discover who you are as a person, and ultimately helps you mature in a way you never could back at home.

Finally, I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice as I write my final freshman blog: have no regrets. Regardless of what happens over the course of your freshman year, all these experiences are meant to shape you as a person. It’s far better to be able to sit down at the end of the year and laugh about some stupid thing you did than sit and wonder what could have happened if only you’d gotten up and done it.