This week and the one that will follow are sure to generate a host of emotions for everyone at UF. We find ourselves faced with endings, goodbyes and new beginnings. Not to mention the stress and anxiety that inevitably accompany the slew of final exams and papers thrust upon us. Needless to say, the vast majority of us are emotional wrecks right now.

With emotion, at least for me, often comes reflection. I have thus found myself thinking through my personal high and low points this semester. While it is certainly important to commend personal accomplishments and celebrate our victories, I believe it is even more important to identify the times we fell and learn why we did. If we allow ourselves to be consistently contempt with adequacy, we will never become as great as we have the potential to be. Consequently, I want to use my last editorial of the semester to offer you some unsolicited advice. I invite you, dear reader, to put this emotional time to good use. In other words, I invite you to reflect on and advance yourself.

First, assess your goals, and in turn evaluate which elements of your life have helped you most on the road to achieving them. If you find that certain parts are holding you back, do not hesitate to let them go. Throughout my now nearly three years at UF, this is something I have found crucial.

In college, we are all growing. We are all changing and turning into the people we are meant to be. Sometimes, this means we outgrow our friends we’ve had around since freshman year. Other times it means cutting ties with the organizations we once held close to our hearts. It can be hard, but concluding things that are no longer beneficial to you can make way for an even better replacement.

To me, endings provide a way to secure smart beginnings. As humans, we are creatures of habit. This means we are bound to make the same mistakes and think the same way we always have. We, of course, can try our best to alter the way we are and oftentimes will find ourselves successful in this endeavour.  But, as I have learned, this takes effort on our part, and it requires us to make changes we sometimes don’t want to make.

As some of us near the end of our college experience, these choices become all the more crucial. I am about to finish my first semester as a junior at UF, meaning I’m officially over halfway done with college. With this milestone, I’ve looked back at who I was when I came to college and who I am five semesters later.

Like almost all other freshmen, I was, to put it nicely, annoying. I relished in the newfound freedom of college and swore up and down the friends I’d made in the first few weeks of school would be my closest friends for life. I felt confident after going through a few introductory classes for my major that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and felt sorry for the older classmates I saw who were still figuring it out. I really did think I was on top of the world.

Thankfully by my second semester I got a dose of humility and realized change is good. Making new friends and leaving behind toxic ones is good. Changing your career goals to better fit a life with which you would be happy is good. Putting yourself first is good.

Please, dear reader, take with you my last piece of uninvited guidance, and don’t be scared to change your life. It could always be for the better.