This week marked the start of my fourth semester as a college student – I’m almost halfway done! As I finalize my schedule, order textbooks, and get reacquainted with dorm life, I’m having the bittersweet realization of just how much time here I have behind me and what little before me. I’m beginning to experience the words of the upperclassmen I spoke to when I first arrived on campus about how quickly these four years would fly by. I’m learning a lot about my greatest interests, things I hadn’t even thought to think about, and, most importantly, I’m learning a great deal about myself. But it all seems to be happening so fast. Additionally, I’m learning the importance and significance of time and using it carefully and responsibly.

As a college student there are so many opportunities available and so many doors opened to you that four years just isn’t enough time to truly indulge in them all. But in a way, that’s expected. You soon learn that with time management comes the skill of being selective with your time. From choosing what classes to take, extracurricular activities to signup for, and even what fun to have, the best thing for us to do is be selective. This allows us to channel our energies into things that matter to us most and really get the best out of the college experience.

A lot of times we limit ourselves to having these great college experiences to the academic semester. However, I learned early on that the best thing about being a college student is that this title means something beyond the fall and spring semesters. If you spend every extended break – summer or winter – without contributing to your college experience, you miss out on so many great opportunities. In high school, summer school had such a negative connotation that some college students avoid it like the plague, but it’s a great opportunity to learn a little more and really continue to feed your self intellectually.

Moreover, there are so many other great opportunities to be a part of during these breaks – from study abroad to internships. Even if you have to work throughout breaks to contribute to funding your education, find ways to engage in something intellectual to contribute to your college experience.

In short, I encourage you to constantly be on the lookout for these types of opportunities and be proactive about knowing what you need to do to participate – the early bird most always gets the worm.