Amanda Charney, TMU contributor and sophomore at USC

I made the mistake of blinking, and I think I missed all the time from September until Thanksgiving. Where did all the time go? Next week already, I will be partaking in the good ol' tradition of American obesity and feeling painfully full from delicious pumpkin pie. It seems incredible that this semester passed so quickly. And it scares me to think how fast the rest of my college years might go by.

The other day, I was talking class schedules with my friend when out of my mouth slipped the sentence, "Well, I only have 4 semesters left on this campus after all." Hearing those words come out of my mouth completely stunned me. Until that moment, I hadn't really processed how soon I was going to be thrown out into the real world. Only a few more years to accomplish everything I ever wanted to try in college. How on earth am I supposed to fit it all in?

Today, I am even more grateful that I had the opportunity to do so much self-reflection (and self-help!) through this experience of interviewing peers, professors, and professionals, researching about my deepest worries and fears, and then attempting to alleviate them in others through writing. I sincerely hope I have helped other theater students just like myself!

Even though graduation looms over many of us, we can't let it get in the way of this amazing, priceless experience of attending a university. There are so many people out there in the world--far more than you would imagine--who do not get the opportunity to follow their passion at a wonderful school that supports them. There are so many chances to "seize the day" on a college campus, and I firmly believe that if you don't take advantage of as many as you can, those are precious chances to live a full life gone to waste.

But when getting all you can from the world, never lose sight of your roots and the reason you chose to go to college for theater - or for any career in the arts for that matter. We are the kids in high school who decided to apply to arts programs and try to make a living out of what we love. We care about other people and want to reach a deeper level of understanding with the world. We investigate, emulate, and perpetuate empathy and human experiences that might otherwise go unexplored and untouched.

Don't ever for one moment think that you as an arts student are not valued in this world as much as an engineer, doctor, or lawyer. Without someone to force us to take a step back and question ourselves, where would we be? Innovations in math and science are incredibly valuable for our civilization, and I would never disregard any kind of technological advancement. But without art, our appreciation for everything we have today would be dimmed. Art is one way to acknowledge our deepest failures and greatest accomplishments, both those of our society and those within ourselves.

Now, with all of that mushiness and seriousness aside, go out there and show the world what you're capable of. Get what you want out of life, and do what makes you happy! And thank you for reading. Even if there are only a few of you, I hope I've made a difference.