It is absolutely crazy how quickly your college career comes to an end, and you are in your senior year applying for jobs after graduation when it seemed just yesterday you were a freshman new to the whole “college” thing. As such a senior, I have been reflecting on the person I have become in the last four years and the lessons I learned the hard way that I wished I had known from the start. It is for that reason I bring you this week’s article. Learn from my mistakes, and take these 21 pieces of advice to those struggling. College is never easy, but it is an amazing time for discovering yourself. Take it from this senior who struggled through it all and made it. You can too, trust me.

1. Stay in town on the weekends.

You will never meet people if you travel home every Friday-Sunday.

2. Don't. Drink. The punch.

Seriously. It may taste like not much is in it... but there is, and it will sneak up on you. So please, please, please take it slow and get to know your limits.

3. And if you are one who is not comfortable drinking, go ahead and go out with your friends.

If you are really worried about the peer pressure, take a sonic cup with just water or soda to hold and sip on, and nobody will think twice. Or just say you are the designated driver! Nobody said alcohol has to be involved for a great night.

4. IHOP and Whataburger at 2:00 a.m. will lead to the freshman 15....

Or sophomore 20.

5. It is not too early to start looking for an internship.

Your professors do actually know what they are talking about. Do everything you can to get an internship before the summer after your junior year. More experience makes for a better resume and better idea of what you want to do.

6. Get out of your room.

Yes, for longer than the time it takes to walk to a dining hall or which-wich. It takes time, but making your presence known and saying hello will lead to new friendships and fresh conversations (and a few less tears).

7. Forget the 4.0.

I do not mean ditch class and give up on studying, but take the time to live and make memories with friends. Do not spend all of your time holed up in your room studying; the majority of employers will not even look at your GPA, but rather your involvement (unless you are a science or pre-med major... with that I just say good luck).

8. Then again... it may be a good idea to get a high GPA your first year.

Honestly, you are probably going to need that cushion when you get into your junior and senior years (brb crying on the inside).

9. Get Involved, get involved, get involved.

I cannot say this enough. I do not care if it is intramurals, cat club, greek life, community plays, student government, the Odyssey (hint hint), or even campus events such as Quidditch or Humans vs. Zombies.

10. Take spontaneous trips.

Whether it is 45 minutes to the nearest Dairy Queen, to the state fair, or even to a hiking trail, grab some friends and have an unexpected adventure.

11. Do NOT take naps between classes.

I am promising you, you will oversleep. It is inevitable.

12. And sometimes, you just have to accept the L and skip.

There will be days around the middle of the semester when you become slammed with projects and tests and you are basically drowning, sometimes you have to decide what is the lesser of two evils- missing one class or not quite getting your paper completed to par.

13. Call your family.

I don't just mean your mom when you are stressed. Call your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. often. Your family are the only ones who will never stop loving you, your dog included. Yes, it is perfectly normal to Facetime your pet back home.

14. Be yourself.

College is all about being yourself and finding yourself. Every campus is surrounded by numerous different groups and you are basically guaranteed to find your niche.

15. Get away from the boyfriend/girlfriend.

Spend time with friends and without your significant other at least twice a week. You do not want to miss out on building friendships because you are too caught up with one individual. Not to mention if you were to go throw a breakup, you want friends to be there to help you through it.

16. Avoid 8 a.m. classes.

Just trust me on this one.

17. Nobody cares about high school.

So don't brag about winning the state championship or prom queen. Nobody cares and it just makes you look arrogant.

18. Don't be anyone's side piece.

Love and respect yourself. You cannot expect others to respect you if you do not respect yourself. You are better than lies, waiting around for calls and texts, and being anything less than a priority.

19. Study abroad!

I do not care how much it costs, the fear of a new place, or whatever other excuse you use to talk yourself out of it. Now is the time to do it before responsibilities of the real world get in your way. Go for 2 weeks, a semester, or a year, I do not care. Just go.

20. Expand your friendship circle.

I do not care if you are not in greek life, sit next to that sorority girl in class and let her vent about Chad from Sigma Tau Sigma and his Vineyard Vines frocket. Get to know people outside of your typical friendship circle. You never know who you will meet and the connections you can make.

21. Capture the moment.

Your college years will fly by- seriously. Take it from this college senior about to graduate who feels like she was the lost freshman just yesterday. The days, weeks, and years will go by fast so capture the moments and memories with journals, blogs, photographs- anything really. You will want to be able to look back at it someday, I promise you.