There’s no place like Yale. No other school, no other time will be like your four years spent within these ivy-covered walls. You will never meet such a diverse group of intelligent and interesting people, and you will never have such unique opportunities like those here.

We hope this issue will give you guidance about what to expect at Yale and excite you about everything you are about to encounter.

Take advantage of every minute of your freshman year. This is the one time at Yale when you won’t have to worry about your major, your resume or your future job. Take classes you want to take, experiment — and when another great opportunity arises, skip class or turn in an assignment late; Yale is not about academics alone.

Experience Yale to the fullest. You have your whole life to talk on the phone with your long-distance boyfriend or play computer games. While you’re here, go listen to famous politicians who frequent campus or have a deep discussion about the meaning of life with your neighbor from Malaysia.

Meet different people. There are 5,000 undergraduates from all 50 states and many countries. Make friends outside your entryway, make friends who challenge you, and make friends you’ll keep for the rest of your life.

Try new things and excel in the things you love. If you have sung for your whole life and you still love it, rush some a cappella groups. If you have sung for your whole life and are ambivalent about it, try joining a cultural group or tutoring at an elementary school. At Yale, you can discover new passions or excel in the things you have always loved.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just because you’re brilliant doesn’t mean you’re infallible. Your professors, classmates and even parents don’t expect perfection and neither should you. If you try new things and hate them, try something different. Just because you put your name on the e-mail list at the Freshman Bazaar doesn’t mean you have made a four-year commitment.

Explore Yale and New Haven’s vast resources. Not many colleges have a van Gogh in their art gallery and not many cities can say they invented the hamburger.

Take a minute to breathe. In the long run, a few minutes spent grabbing coffee with your roommate will probably mean more to you than an hour spent cramming biology.

And above all, have fun.