At long last, we’ve earned the one thing we’ve been yearning for: freedom. My first semester at the university has been quite a wild ride.

From a freshman’s perspective, the move to higher education is life-changing. Moving away from home is a stark transition that some may not be ready for. Roommate issues can come up and homesickness can take its toll. For those who were ready for a new life and willing to take advantage of it, college brings so many new opportunities that may have been absent from high school.

The abundance of clubs on campus provides you the chance to find people who share the same passions as you. Becoming a part of Greek life can expand your social circle and create lasting connections. Scholarship and research opportunities at the university are plentiful. With a good work ethic and can-do attitude, you can make the most out of college.

But nobody goes off to college just for the academics, right? Amidst rampant nicotine addictions and questionable academic habits from some of my peers, I’ve seen people heading to house parties every weekend, celebrating a failed test with a round of shots and pulling all-nighters before that one midterm they almost forgot about.

Not to mention turning up at the local bars on Thirsty Thursdays with those fake IDs that finally came in two months late.

Tinder is the app that probably made its way onto most of our phones too. And as some have found, bringing a relationship with you to college can quickly go south. It is the time to try new things, as the saying goes.

With the new freedom, though, we have the chance to make our own choices about our life.

That class at seven in the morning? Skip it! Who cares? You are your own keeper and your professor from that 150 person lecture couldn’t care less if you sleep through it half the time.

But failing to understand the ramifications of ditching class and pulling all-nighters for the midterm you almost forgot is where it will come back to bite you.

Despite the allure of doing everything available, whether it is joining clubs, working on campus, or partying throughout the week, the new responsibilities that come with going to college can inhibit what we’re able to involve ourselves with.

The thing that will make or break a freshman their first semester is their time management skills. Juggling all aspects of college is a challenge for most.

Choosing to do laundry, eating three meals a day and going to class is entirely up to you. Your parents are not here to harp on you and make sure you are on top of things, and everything you do must be of your own accord.

I’ve done fairly well my first semester. But I don’t know if that’s the case for some, though.

And as with any first semester, you will come to know the people who went to college for the wrong reasons.

But if you have been able to juggle academic responsibilities, a social life and personal health so far, college should have a lot in store in the coming years. At the end of the day, remember why you’re here.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Nick Alvarez studies computer science and engineering and can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.