I feel like people are always trying to offer you some kind of advice or perspective, especially in college.

“Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”

“You’re in college; it’s time to start growing up.”

Or even, “Beer before liquor, you’ll never feel sicker.”

Okay, wait, maybe keep that last one. But from my experience so far in my now almost two years since coming here as a freshman, I would say there’s one idiom that we Gauchos should really give weight to: “You never realize how important something is until it’s gone.” Now, wait, before you all get depressed, hear me out.

From the first day I moved into the dorms as a freshman, and now as a sophomore living in Isla Vista, to the first time I had a truly inspiring and passionate professor, to the first time I blacked out on Del Playa Drive, or tanned on the beach at Sands, I realized that I was lucky to be at this school. When my friends and I would walk to the DLG last year for a hungover Sunday brunch, and even still this year, we always find ourselves saying, “Wait, do we really go here? We actually won the academic lottery of colleges.” I literally never want to leave this place.

That said, I also feel that with all the burdensome, mundane activities we’re all forced to go through on a daily basis (8 a.m. classes, homework, heartbreaks, oh and finals/dead week anyone? Yeah, just a reminder: That shit’s coming up real fast), we can take for granted just what an amazing place this is. What this powerful, emotional, spectacular year of ups and downs has taught me is that you need to treat every perfect day here as if it’s the last. Look how fast this year’s gone so far: It’s already almost Spring Quarter. Hi, when did this happen?

Find something you’re passionate about. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and make some life changing, monumental world contribution; you don’t need to write the great American novel or anything, just find something you love to do or someone to be around that makes you unapologetically happy and embrace it with your whole heart. That cute girl you’ve wanted to talk to since the first day of biology class? Just do it. You’ve got nothing to lose (plus, we love that shit — confidence is always a turn on). The intramural sports team you were thinking about going out for, or the road trip to Big Sur you’ve always wanted take with your friends? Grab your stuff and do it. Pack up the moth-eaten sleeping bag (and maybe a few handles) and go. Carpe diem. Just thought I’d throw another expression in there.

This is the most experimental, free and defining time in our lives, so why not live for the moment and experience everything this ocean side ecstasy of a campus has to offer us? So next time you’re choosing between staying in again and studying for some pointless test or going out with your friends instead, put the pencil down, I promise those are the nights you’ll remember. Walk of shame? More like stride of pride. You probably had more fun last night than the average person does in a week, so let it go. Everything’s an experience, even if it’s bad. Every drunken mistake, every fight, every fuck-up, I would not take back for a do-over in a million years. Because no matter what, you gain something from it that you did not realize before.

So question everything, make your own path and look at this time in your life with new eyes every morning when you wake up. Hell, feel free to completely disregard this entire article if you choose; just make sure that it’s your decision and no one else’s. Every day is precious, every occurrence is unique and every person that touches your life in any way is irreplaceable. I’m going to take in every crazy second of it as if it was my last.