1. Find something to deeply care about.
Become so deeply passionate about something that you can’t stop yourself. Fall in love with an idea instead of a person. Actually listen to what your professors are trying to tell you in First Philosophy, in Anthropology 101, and in Psych 102. Let their words sweep over you and incite fever dreams within your everyday thoughts until you’re moved to some kind of action.
2. Say yes to everything.
That first get-together you’re invited to in Kris’s room down the hallway? Go—you never know whom you’re going to meet or how that person will change your life forever. Play Ultimate Frisbee at midnight in the mud. Drink the gin at two in the morning, just six hours before that paper is due. Go to that random party in the weird part of town and sleep on the living-room floor. Run through the cornfields with people that you just met and collapse in a shouting heap in the middle of a field, staring up at the stars and the moon.
3. Don’t limit yourself.
Let your boundaries be pushed and swayed and stretched. Know yourself, but also know that you are always a work in progress—let new experiences, friends, books, and ideas sculpt you. You will never be a finished product, so allow yourself to be fluid and enjoy this short, crazy installment that we call life.
There will likely never be a time again in your life when you can travel this freely. Scribble your name on the sign-up list, take the flight, jump the ferry—or just get in your roommate’s car and go. Go everywhere that you possibly can, whether that’s down the road to the next town over, across the country, or across the world. Make the nine-hour drive to your friend’s cousin’s apartment in Boston. Feel the rain on your skin in São Paulo during a summer thunderstorm. These are things that you will never forget.
5. Meet people who will be in your life for years to come.
That girl across the hallway with the short black hair and the smuggled pet frogs could be your roommate next semester and in your wedding two years after graduation. The other runner who skipped yesterday’s track practice with you to get ice cream might be one of your drinking buddies for the next few years, but they might also help you hold it together during your quarter-life crisis. These are the people who will accidentally introduce you to your soulmate, stay up until dawn just to talk about theology and politics, who will not just hold your hair back when you’re ill but will tease you about it years later (and have the moment captured on video, too).
After graduation, whether you’re entering the workforce or starting graduate school, it’s amazing and challenging and eye-opening and so much more than you could ever dream of, but for now, you have four years to learn and grow into that person. Don’t hold back; give yourself this time to become who you will be.