As my freshman year of college is coming to a close, I've begun to reflect upon my academic and social experiences and all that I've learned. Although I'm only a freshman, this past year has taught me many important lessons that have helped me grow in so many ways.

1. Hard work pays off

Jocelyn Hsu

I know... so cliche, but it's true. Those tireless hours spent in the library are worth it. Even if your hard work doesn't pay off immediately, it all will in the long run. Hard work and dedication goes a long way and you'll be thankful that you put in the effort to do well. 

2. Be open-minded

chocolate, cereal, rice
Sarah Pravato

These four years are the perfect time to explore and experience all that college has to offer. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Take different classes and meet new people. Having an open mind in college will open doors to incredible opportunities and experiences that you might've never even considered before.

3. Professors want to help

Throughout my freshman year, I've realized that professors truly love their work and want nothing more than to see their students succeed. Participate in class discussions and take advantage of office hours, because the effort that you show is greatly appreciated by professors.

4. Alone time is a must

tea, coffee, beer
Olivia Salzman

College can be incredibly overwhelming, between schoolwork, a social life and extracurriculars. Taking alone time to recharge your battery is extremely necessary. Whether you go on a walk, listen to music or write in a journal, make time for yourself.

5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Eating well and working out is crucial, not just because you don't want to face the dreadful freshman 15, but for your mental health. Eating foods that fuel your body will fuel your mind. And trust me, the gym will become more than a place to sweat. Working out is a lifesaver when all the stress and anxiety of college becomes too much and you need a mental escape.

6. Nothing's too TMI

When you live in such close quarters with your best friends, nothing is too much information. Enough said.

7. Family is everything

Olivia Salzman

After being apart from my family, I've only grown to love and appreciate them more than I ever thought possible. Be thankful for where you came from and for the people that shaped you into who you are.

8. FaceTime is a blessing

Not kidding, I FaceTime my friends and family about three times a day. It's so nice to be able to talk to the people you love no matter how far you may be. Whether I have a quick question for my mom, want to check in with a friend from home or rant about life to my brothers, FaceTime is my go-to.

9. True friends will always be there for you 

Olivia Salzman

It's crazy how in such a short amount of time, the people you meet in college soon become like family. In my freshman year, I've made some of the most incredible friends who have been there for me through the good, the bad and the ugly. Be thankful for these bonds. 

10. Stay in touch with home friends

Olivia Salzman

Although it can be hard to stay in touch while living such different lives, making an effort to talk with home friends is so special. I always love hearing about my friend's college lives and telling them all about mine. 

11. Use free time wisely

Rebecca Block

My high school self would laugh at this one because I never would've thought in a million years that there would be any time to breathe in college. In high school, you're going from class to class for hours straight. In college, you might only have two or three classes a day with several breaks in between. Of course I'm not talking about jam-packed weeks like finals, but on an everyday basis, there's more free time than you'd think. 

12. Everything happens for a reason

Although it's hard to believe when something bad is happening to you, everything truly does happen for a reason. Whether it may be not getting into the class you wanted, getting the "bad" dorm or the end of a relationship — romantic or platonic — everything will work itself out. 

13. Time management is key

milk, tea, coffee
Chloe Citron

I've always been a pretty organized person with good time management skills. However, college is a new ballpark. I've learned that time management isn't all about when to do school work. Now, I have to manage time for going to the gym, doing my laundry and completing assignments. Trust me, a planner will be your best friend.

14. Be yourself

orange, coffee
Olivia Salzman

In high school, I was always so worried about what other people thought of me, what I was wearing and what I was interested in. Honestly, in college, people could care less. Don't waste time worrying about other's perception of you. Just do you and find your happiness.

15. Take advantage of resources

pizza, tea, coffee, beer
Morgan Stewart

My parents always told me to take advantage of my school's resources, but for a while, I ignored them. I didn't even know about half of the resources available to me — there are so many! College is expensive, so use all of the resources you can get. Whether it's tutoring, the career center or the counseling center, your school offers incredible resources that you'll probably find pretty beneficial.

16. It's okay to not be okay

The transition from high school to college is a huge change and no one's expected to have the easiest time. In fact, it's completely normal to go through a rough patch in college. There will definitely be some obstacles to face, but remember those challenges will only make you stronger.

17. Take care of yourself

beer, water
Nancy Chen

Last, but certainly not least, take care of yourself. Freshman year is a time for growth and maturity. Learn to realize that you're really all you have at the end of the day, so take care of yourself. Self-care can range from going to the gym to going to counseling. Whatever it may be, put yourself first.

Freshman year has been a crazy ride with so many ups and downs. This year has taught me so much about myself, growing up and responsibility. I can't even imagine what I'll learn in the next three years.