You’re graduating high school and it’s so weird. It’s weirder that you’re actually graduating as valedictorian of your class because who knew that one of us would be able to pull that off? I knew since the day I was born that I wouldn’t be able to do it because I’m too lazy and practically the queen of procrastination. I knew since my first day of existence, I wouldn’t be able to pull off something as great as graduating at the top of my class, but that doesn’t mean I felt the same about you.
When you were born, Dad picked me up from school when I was 5 years old and took me straight to the hospital to meet you. The moment I saw you, I knew that you were truly the epitome of something special. I remember how I used to stand over your bassinet and watch you sleep when Mom and Dad finally brought you home because I was so overjoyed and honored to be your big sister.
You’re my little sister, my only sister, and my only sibling. You are the only person who truly knows how it is to be made up of the same two people. We grew up under the same roof, under the same rules, while hearing the same constant sound of Mom saying, “make good choices” or Dad learning a new song on his guitar in his bedroom. You’re the only person who can tease Dad with me about all of his odd hobbies he’s had in the past and can agree with me that his magic and archery phases were the best ones.
I knew since your very first day of school when you were 3 years old that learning was something you would be passionate about. I’m not sure if you remember, but after we got home from our first day, you walked over to me with a piece of paper and a pencil in your hands and you asked, “Can you make me homework?” I don’t remember what kind of “homework” I made up for you but I remember watching you take that paper straight to the kitchen table and you began to work. That type of yearning for education that I saw in that tiny 3 year old is what molded you into the intelligent 18 year old you are today.
You’re incredibly smart and I know that you have a really good head on your shoulders, but it’s my job as your big sister to give you some advice as you move on to the next chapter of your life. I know, who am I to give advice? I’m the third year senior at her third university and I’m about to begin my sixth and final year of higher education. I’m the one who’s absolutely terrified of post-grad life because I still don’t have an idea of what I want to do. I don’t have advice on how to do a proper keg stand and I don’t know anything about joining a sorority.
What I do want you to know is that it’s completely okay to be unsure about your future. It’s okay to want to study to be a nurse one semester or want to study English literature to become a professor the next. It’s okay to feel that getting a degree is a waste of time and money, but you need to always remember to not stop getting up every morning for those classes.
Mom is going to call you up every other day and there will be times when you’re going to tell her that you want to give up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told her that I wanted so badly to drop out. College isn’t exactly easy and it also doesn’t help to constantly have people wishing me luck on my future with a degree in film. Although Mom and Dad wish that I would become a nurse or something else with a steady income, they continue to support and deliver all of the inspiration that I need in order to continue on with my education.
I want you to remember that all of us are and will continue to be your support system in whatever it is that you decide to do with your life. I want you to know that even though you will be living four hours away from me, those four hours can’t stand in my way of you. If you call me at midnight saying that you need me, I will be in my car and on the road by the time our phone call ends. You are the only person I would do that for and you are the only person that I would give my life for. I will never hesitate to sacrifice myself for you because you are without a doubt the best part of me. Every person that I become close with knows that I would do absolutely anything for you. It doesn’t bother me at all when you say that you wouldn’t give your life for me because it’s something that I don’t want you to do. I want you to live your life and I want you to spend it by finding all that makes you happy.
I want you to continue to tell me about your accomplishments so I can brag about you to my friends and coworkers. I want you to not be afraid to make mistakes. I want you to not be afraid to take risks because sometimes the scariest risks can result in an overflow of happiness. I want you to swim in happiness and I want you to feel as if you’re the luckiest person in the entire world. I want us to continue to be best friends. I want us to somehow become closer than we are now. I want you to know that I’m going to be the proudest big sister on your graduation day. I want you to know that I bought waterproof mascara specifically for your valedictorian speech because seeing you lead your class is truly a dream come true. I want you to know that even though I publicly wrote this for you, words still cannot describe how much I love you.
Your biggest fan.