What a beautiful time of life college is. It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience—you’re on your own but not entirely, you get to live in close community with a lot of other people your age, and you have the time and space to experiment a bit with what you might want to do in the future.

So how can you make the most of this amazing season in your life without feeling the pressure to make the most out of literally every moment? We’ve pulled together some ideas for you to help you hone in on what to enjoy during college.

1. Talk to people

Talking to people is important on several different levels. These days, it can feel so much easier to play it safe and bury your face in your cell phone instead of interacting with others, but you really might be missing out on a lot of connections—and even potential friends—by avoiding talking with people. When you’re away at college, there are so many people to meet in such close proximity that you might want to consider striking up a conversation here or there with a classmate or the person sitting next to you on the campus shuttle.

It’s also a good idea to talk with people who are influencing your life—like professors, RA’s, or other mentors. Since you’re a college student, you’ll probably have access to counseling services at your school, tutors, and a whole host of other resources. Don’t suffer in silence, and take advantage of the opportunity you have to connect with people who could truly change your life in the long run.

2. Balance school and your social life

Balancing classes and homework alongside your social life can be a tricky balance. It can be really easy to lean toward one extreme over the other, but if you can keep both of these priorities balanced, you’ll definitely benefit. Skipping classes and forgetting to do homework because you’ve been out with friends all night isn’t a good idea; likewise, studying all day long and keeping yourself stowed away in the library with no outside contact isn’t exactly a healthy option either.

Take breaks when you’re studying if you have trouble getting out, and if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and struggle to stick with your studies, try scheduling out time to study and time to socialize, so you have strong boundaries for yourself.

3. Steer clear of bad habits

Consuming unhealthy things can be an easy thing to fall into when you’re away at college and your mama isn’t around to hold you accountable. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat now and then, but consuming sugar, caffeine, etc. in excess can be really detrimental for your health in the long run.

The same goes for anything else that is “too much of a good thing.” Too much TV, too many late nights, etc. can really hold you back as time goes on. Try to pursue healthy coping mechanisms when you’re feeling stressed. Talking to a counselor, exercise, taking a long walk with a friend, or journaling are all good places to start.

4. Give yourself grace

There’s a lot of things that are easy to stress over in college. From making the grade to worrying about job opportunities to hearing professors warn and advise about the future—it can be a lot for college students to shoulder. The thing is people change, and you might notice that the things you want to do with your life have shifted over the course of four years. New opportunities crop up and different types of connections appear. You never know what will come into your path.

The future is an inevitable thing for all people, so try and focus on simply doing your best, setting your mind on things above (Col. 3:2), and enjoying your time away at school. Oftentimes, the person we are hardest on is ourselves, so try and actively practice being kind to yourself and seeing yourself the way God sees you. College is an enormous challenge and also an incredibly exciting time—soak it up and lean into the discomfort. You’re not alone!