If you are a college student, you know all too well how valuable time is. Whether you are planning on staying in school for two years, four years, or much longer, a college experience is one that comes about only once in a lifetime.

Before you get a taste of this experience, others probably told you that college “would be the best years of your life,” and they weren’t wrong. College, and all that it entails, is going to be something you remember forever. The places you go, the people you meet, and the things you get involved in are irreplaceable, however, this does not mean that it will necessarily be the “happiest” time of your life.

College is a time of fun and games, but also a time of stress and uncertainty. Each and every day can be a new challenge for some people. As a freshman, the adjustment of living from your safe-haven house from home to your own little dorm room with a stranger can be a scary and nerve-racking process. Odds are you don’t know anyone, don’t know your way around, and are stressed with classes and homework on top of this. The following years come with even more unpredictability. The responsibilities pile up as you move from the dorms to a house and, all of a sudden, you are in charge of paying bills, doing laundry, cleaning everything, and maintaining a social life. Throughout all of this, the hunt for jobs and internships become fierce and competitive, while you also have to stay on top of your newly hard classes and projects. The overwhelming nature of college is one that is frightening, but that should not stop you from attending such a marvelous and sensational place because college is when and where you make your very own home away from home.

Through the stress and the tears and the all-nighters of schoolwork, you become who you are. You learn your boundaries, and then adjust them when you are ready to grow. You take risks that you never would have before. Whether that be going out for a club you always wanted to be a part of, or asking that boy or girl you have a crush on out for a date. It is an emotional roller coaster that has its fair share of ups and downs, but is something you should stand in line in and experience because it is one hell of a ride. The inconsistency and variability of life is not something to back down from, but to take advantage of. There will never be a time again where you can encounter all of your potential at the tips of your fingers.

College isn’t meant to be “happy.” College is meant to be exciting, scary, risk-filled, and mistake loaded. It is meant to be unstable and rapidly altering. So, if you are struggling, or something seems out of place, remember there will come a time in your life where stability and happiness triumphs all. Until then, know that college is meant to be terrifyingly beautiful. Accept it, embrace it, and thrive in it; you will never get the chance to do so again.