Tim Sandlin’s angsty novel Social Blunders begins: “Traumatic events always happen exactly two years before I reach the maturity level to deal with them.”

Tim here pretty much describes my impending graduation. I feel like the college experience has so much to offer that I could do four more years and get as much out of it the second time.

Just as I had learned how to master the role of the college student ? how to get As in my classes, how to drink without puking ? it’s already over, and it’s time to go play adult.

So, having been through it all, I guess this space is for me to offer a few words of advice to those of you still at UR.

Go out in Rochester. Don’t decide during orientation week that the city is lame and spend the next four years in your room playing Beirut. It may not be the East Village, but Rochester has a lot of stuff to do if you just look. I promise.

Talk to your professors. They’re not just there to give you a 50-minute lecture. They’re incredibly interesting people who share your passion for your field of study. There’s nothing like 4 a.m. dorm-room debates on the merits of socialism, but some of the best college conversations can also take place in an office in Harkness or over lunch at the Meliora.

Don’t be sad if you think you’re not learning anything useful in your classes. I have to tell you, I’m not taking a whole lot of real-world skills away from UR either, but I don’t think that’s the point. Although my formal education here has been a really delightful intellectual experience, the most valuable thing college gives you is four years in which to grow up.

And most of all, appreciate what you have while you’re still here. College is all of the freedom with none of the responsibilities. This is the last time in your life it will ever be socially acceptable to wake up at 2 p.m. on a Thursday, so milk it!

There’s at least one piece of advice that holds true whether you’re in school or out ? make the most of what you do, because you’ll never get a minute of it back.

I’ve learned and done so much at UR that I don’t really have any regrets ? except for maybe not taking five ? but at the same time, if I could meet my past self, I’d have so much to tell her. And I wish my future self could come back and tell me what to do now. I’d listen.

Le can be reached at cle@campustimes.org.

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