Last summer, I decided to start working out. I started with running, although at that point, it was really walking. My stamina was horrible and I could barely run for more than 10 minutes at a stretch.

“You never know what you’re capable of achieving until you go above and beyond…”

After struggling for a month and slowly increasing the distance, I finally completed a three-mile run that took me 40 minutes. This week, I broke 25 minutes for the same distance.

I know this is by no means fast or extraordinary, but compared to the me that huffed and puffed the first mile I ran, it was an accomplishment I was proud of. More than that, it showed me how much I could do if I pushed myself and kept at it. It doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger. And much like that, my education here at Tech was no different, so here’s a little advice from a graduating senior:

It takes time—shaving off 15 minutes from my timing did not happen overnight, it took me nine months to slowly increase my pace and push myself harder every time I worked out. At the beginning, I expected to improve by leaps and bounds. I expected to by flying in a month. It obviously did not happen.

The learning curve is never easy, but it is an exponential one. I remember my first few CS 1371 classes, I could not for the life of me figure out how MATLAB worked. It took many sleepless night, submitting homework assignments the minute before it was due, and the most helpful friends. And all of a sudden, it magically made sense, and I passed the class with an A. Keep trying, have faith and understand that sometimes, all we need is a little time because after all, life cannot take away greatness from those meant for it; it can only prolong the time until we get it.

It is okay to take rest days — most of us know that we cannot work out too many times in a row. After a really intensive workout, our muscles are overworked and sore. A rest day replenishes our energy, repairs damaged tissues and when we head to the gym the following day, we have more power to put into the workout and we can bounce back harder than ever. It might seem like you are slacking off, but in the long run, your body would thank you for it. So, it is okay to take rest days.

When Tech gets overwhelming, I’m telling you that skipping your classes, ignoring your emails, switching your phone to silent mode and watching an entire season of Community while eating a whole pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is perfectly okay.

And the next day, you would get out of bed and conquer the world. Everyone has those days; so don’t beat yourself up over it. Sometimes, we just need a little time for yourself, to step back, regroup and be ready to give it your all the following day.

Go the extra mile—you never know what you’re capable of achieving until you go above and beyond what you set out to do. Set out small goals for yourself work steadily towards those goals, but don’t stop once you’ve accomplished it, keep going and set even higher goals. You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to do. My freshmen year at Tech, I felt completely lost. The student body was so much bigger than my high school and it seem like what I did was insignificant compared to the endeavors of all my peers. I did not know a single person and I honestly thought I just wanted to get through college and get out of here.

Never did I imagine all the opportunities I had here at Tech — the chance to study abroad at GTL in France, being part of the editorial board of the Technique and Blueprint, some of the oldest organizations here at Tech to place my stamps (or photos) in history, and being part of the Institute of Industrial Engineer’s executive board. Pushing myself to take on new leadership role and trying my hands at new activities beyond my comfort zone ultimately gave me an unforgettable college experience that I would not trade for anything else. So, don’t be afraid, and after all, what have you got to loose by going the extra mile.

Do it for yourself—when I first started exercising, what kept me going was doing it for myself. I figured that my body was probably at its peak, and after this point, getting fit would only be harder upward battle. If I could not put in the effort to do this for myself, who would?

Do it for yourself because it is what you deserve, what you get is what you put in it. At the gym, it might be tempting to quickly pump out your set to get through it, but at the end of the day, you would only be cheating yourself of the maximum benefits of exercise.

By slowly down, pacing ourselves and performing each repetition fully, we would be able to maintain proper form that would get the most out of a workout. So instead of finding ways to cheat the system, put in the effort and work because you deserve to get the best out of this education.

And finally — enjoy yourself. Life’s short, so seize every moment and live it to the fullest. Don’t discount the nights you spend with your friends, the restaurant checklist you complete with your best friend, or days you wander off with your roommates to go skydiving in the middle of nowhere. The time spent with your loved ones, and the little things are what count, and they’ll be the moments hold closest when you look back on your Tech days.