You know what’s crazy? I just returned from spring break, and suddenly in four weeks I will have officially completed my freshman year of college. That is crazy.

This home stretch is such an interesting one – it’s full of preparing yourself to say goodbye to the routines and comforts you’ve developed over the past seven months, and also time to say hello to countless new opportunities on the horizon. I’m a quarter of the way through… And yet, it feels as though nothing has changed, and I’m still just beginning this college journey.

One example of an opportunity is one that’s been on my mind almost constantly over the past few weeks. A friend of mine and I are looking into studying abroad in Europe next Spring via a program that CBU has an affiliation with—as if CBU needed to add to their list of incredible opportunities!

Since we’re both graphic design majors, Caitlin and I are having so much fun sorting through the various art schools in Rome andFlorence, jittery with excitement at the idea of living in another country for a semester. To wake up, pick up a mug of Italian coffee and some delicious Tuscan pastries before glancing over our shoulder–only to see the silhouette of the coliseum in the distance. What a daydream!

Therein lies the problem. I am so much of a daydreamer that I often struggle to remain firm enough in the present to focus! Focus on the here and now, focus on the present, focus.

I wrote in an earlier blog about how my mom used to tell me when I was in elementary school, after I’d complain about how the school days drag on forever, that, “When you are older, time just seems to go so much faster.” I never believed her… until I did.

With that reflection in mind, and especially realizing that an entire year of college has nearly escaped my reach, I’m learning the importance of balancing what consumes my mind between the present reality and my future daydreams. This is no simple feat for me, as I learned in my FOCUS class earlier this year. We were required to take a personality test which revealed our five top strengths – two of mine were Ideation and Futuristic. Enough said?

So if, having almost completed my first year, I have enough credibility to give some advice to graduating high school seniors, it would be this: when it comes to going to school for the purpose of planning a future, exercise focusing on the here and now so that you may succeed in whatever it is you intend to do.

But also, learn to daydream if you haven’t already, because that’s what will ultimately propel you through every homestretch.

Focus, focus… then glance.