By Heather Janssen

There comes a time in every college student’s life where they must accept that their whole life is about to change. They must realize that they have responsibilities and have to enter the real world. It’s a terrifying time, really. One day you’re in college wishing that you could be out because you despise your core humanities class, and the next you’re one week away from graduation with nothing actually planned for your life.

Sure, maybe you have grad school or a job lined up, but sometimes you just don’t. That’s where I am, and it’s a tough place to be. But know that when you get to that weird stage of limbo, you aren’t alone. Life simply becomes one big “what if?” and at any given moment you could be packing your bags to move to Chicago, San Francisco, or maybe even back home.

Suddenly, life is an adventure waiting to happen and you have to become that responsible adult you’ve been dreading since the day you began your senior year. So, if there are some pieces of advice I can give to anyone entering their last year or semester, it’s to embrace the little amount of time you have left to be completely irresponsible and embrace the potential of the future.

What I mean is, go out on a Wednesday and have a few drinks if you want to. Just don’t do it if you have a dance class in the morning, I can assure you it’s not a grand time. When you want to take a spontaneous road trip to procrastinate your homework some, go do it. As long as you still manage to get your homework turned in by the deadline, you’re OK.

Go to brunch with your best friends, get that greasy fast food meal after a night out if you really want it, or spend an entire day watching a marathon of “Parks and Recreation” or “American Horror Story” just because you can. You can probably still get away with not washing your clothes for two weeks, so long as you have underwear.

Take that afternoon nap if you want it and make some Kraft macaroni and cheese or Top Ramen for dinner. Some things just aren’t quite socially acceptable after college, and, well, even if you still do them (maybe I will), you just might not have the time when you become a “real” grown up. Take it all in stride while you still can!

So, to the graduating classes of the University of Nevada to come, remember that the little things matter. You may not notice how important those little things are until you begin to watch the countdown to graduation dwindle down to zero, or maybe you’ll take them granted as a whole. Either or, just know that we, the fall class of 2014, know the struggle and we too have felt the fear of real life inching close.

Be that irresponsible college student who is still allowed to drink out of red Solo cups while you still can and, when you’re fully ready, I’ll see you on the other side, in the real world. As for the future, when you get there, don’t be afraid to be afraid. Chances are, you may not get a job in your chosen career field for the first few months out of college, but eventually some employer out there will see the qualities and skills you carry and hire you on.

Apply to that one job you’re not sure if you are fully qualified for; it could eventually pay off and become your next challenge. The future of your life is in your hands and I’m positive you’re more than qualified to make your dreams happen. The University of Nevada breeds nothing but success so I know when I do make it, I’ll be more than proud and grateful to be able to call myself an alumna of this tier-one university. Remain the optimistic and strong individuals that I know this university raises. Best of luck to you all future alumni and remember to continue to make Nevada proud!

Heather Janssen studies journalism. She can be reached at dcoffey@unr.edu or on Twitter   @TheSagebrush.