Time is a funny thing. It seems like only yesterday I was building snow forts and playing t-ball in my backyard with no bigger worry than trying to defeat my older brother. Now, as I forge my own path through college, I am once again reminded of how quickly time passes. Suddenly, I am hours away from my friends and family, growing up faster than ever before. The ever-intimidating hands of a clock seem only to spin faster, carrying with them an oppressive nature that grows as you grow. While a million fears race through my mind as an incoming freshman, the thing I fear most about college is letting it slip by too quickly. With only four years of an undergraduate education, time is decidedly against us.

As freshmen, we are the lucky ones. We have the most time left on campus, the most time left to grow as individuals, learn something new, and connect with others as college students. We get more classes and more football games in the student section, more random adventures and more nights left before we leave this chapter of our life. Admittedly, while this also means more papers and more long nights of studying, we have more time to experience a wealth of knowledge and ideas at our fingertips. We have more days to throw a frisbee on the quad and to laugh with our fellow classmates. We have more time to be college students.

Yet, all of this is met with the adrenaline-fueled realization that all too quickly we will have one less year left. Soon, we will look at the incoming freshmen with nostalgia-filled eyes and envy. We will have one less year to study abroad or join a campus organization. We will have less time for late night pizza parties and enlightening classroom discussions. We will have fewer days spent relaxing with close friends and fewer walks around campus. There will be less time to learn from professors, meet fellow students, and grow from campus experiences. We will be one step closer to entering the responsibility-filled “real world” of adulthood and leaving behind our time as undergraduate college students.

With so many opportunities and so little time, it seems hard to experience fully the wonder that is college. We are in a race against time to accomplish everything we want, socially, academically and personally. And while I carry around dreams and aspirations a bit too big for a girl from middle-of-nowhere America, most importantly, I want to enjoy the journey I am on. I want to appreciate every moment that college gives me because time moves too fast to rush it. Although I am scared of letting the time pass too quickly, I am determined to experience rather than fear the passing minutes. I want to soak up every moment, say “yes” to a new adventure and allow myself to change and grow through new perspectives and experiences. I want to slow down, take a deep breath and worry about fewer things. I want to leave college a better person than I entered.

I may be young, but I’m not immune to the realization of how quickly time passes, how fleeting are our moments in life, especially those in college. As first-year students, it may seem as though graduation is a lifetime away. Yet, time has a funny way of turning a lifetime into a quick stroll on the beach, one that comes and goes before you realize what is happening. The schools that are now becoming our current homes will become our alma mater much more quickly than we can grasp. How will you use your time?

Lead Image Credit: Gioia De Antoniis