A word from the wise to college freshmen (and really all students): Breathe. I’ve been an RA for three years and I can tell you that you aren’t doing it enough. I know it might seem like everyone older than you is telling you to do this right now, so it might seem a little trite, but take them seriously. Freshmen — and college students in general, really — are some of the most high-strung individuals I have ever had the pleasure of encountering in my short 21 years.

Breathe. Run. Take a walk. Watch a movie. Reflect. Meditate. Do something you enjoy. Don’t just sit around telling me that your life sucks without doing anything about it. Pick up a hobby. I hear baking is nice (or eating baked goods, for that matter). Now, take us seniors, for example. Sure, we might look a little haggard from our previous three years in school — and rightfully so — but we’ve learned an essential lesson that you’ve still yet to understand: It doesn’t actually matter. I mean, it does, but it’s not like the one class you take now is unalterably going to secure your fate here and in whatever next life you believe in. Chill out. Enjoy life, because let me tell you something: Life doesn’t get any easier. Choices don’t suddenly become clearer; relationships don’t magically materialize out of thin air.

Life takes work, and you keep working until you get what you want, at which point you decide you want something else. I strongly recommend abiding by the advice of Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Even if those dreams change and your imagination wanders into new territories, follow them.

Welcome to the real world, people. That doesn’t mean life sucks or that it’s all bad. Working hard and being happy are by no means mutually exclusive things (and shame on whomever tried to sell you that sad sack of beans). You can do both and, quite frankly, most of you will want to do both — even if “work” is a dirty word right now (I guarantee you’ll encounter a lot more dirty words as you get older). You’re young and this is the only time in your life you’ll be able to mess up badly and still get away with it.

Things don’t get any easier with time, but they certainly get more interesting. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Matthew 6:24: “Do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself.”

The older you get, the more doors open up to you and the more barriers you can surmount. The older you get, the more tools you have in your arsenal to fight adversity and figure out what it is you really want out of life. Don’t waste time now worrying about what may or may not happen to you next year or after college or when you have to get a job.

Yes, do work and do it well, but have fun. Make some mistakes. Learn. That’s really what college is all about.

Maura Timoney is a senior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. TAKE IT FROM A SENIORappears every other Friday in the guide.

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