Past tense?

One of my new students expressed his fear at using anything but the present tense in conversation. Do you have this problem? Do you refrain from using past tenses, future etc when you talk with French people even after living there for some time? I am interested in your personal usage of tenses other than the present.

Par exemple, do you say : hier je suis allée au marché"or do you tend to avoid the past and say “hier je vais au marché”?

Excellent week-end.

I must admit I tend to just use the present tense at the moment but my french is limited, I figure that if I learn it in present tense then when I am better at it I can slowly learn tenses… :slight_smile: