The day that my parents have likely been dreading for years is fast approaching. That day will be when my little sister leaves the comfort of home for the epic adventure known as college. She’s growing up, much to my discontent, but if she must, then I in turn should provide her with some parting guidance.
It is my duty, as the older sibling, to provide wisdom to get her through the next four years. Those four – very important – years helped shaped the person that I am today. I only hope that her four years will do the same for her in a challenging and enriching way. I know that she’s ready to go whether or not we’re ready to let her.
So here we are, just a few short weeks away from boxes and goodbyes. Before the day arrives at her dorm-step, there are just a few things I want her to know:
1. Remember that you are always good enough. No matter what any boy, professor, rival sorority girl, or group project leader will tell you.
2. Take in as much knowledge as you can, but don’t be afraid to miss class for something spontaneous. Take advantage of the wealth of information, but also know you learn more from moments than textbooks.
3. Develop relationships that will last a lifetime. You will make many friends, but you will make few that change your life for the better. Hold onto them.
4. Don’t forget about your family. Go home when you can because you’ll miss the ability to in the real world. Call your mom and your dad to tell them you’re alive. Text your sister whatever you’re too scared to tell or ask your parents.
5. Take lots of pictures, but don’t document everything on social media. You might get judged for it when you go out, but in years to come everyone will be thankful that they had someone hold onto the memories. Just be mindful about what you share publically – it will stay online forever.
6. Don’t be afraid of new things. Say yes to road trips, to dates, and to random adventures. Say yes to things outside of your comfort zone and you will see how far your comfort zone can grow.
7. Don’t give into temptation. Conversely, don’t say yes to things for the wrong reason. Learn to stand up for yourself. Learn to say no and not worry what anyone thinks. Not everything is worth trying – but you decide what is.
8. Ignore the gossip and college politics. Don’t let yourself get trapped into the controversy, competition and pettiness that surround college campuses. Walk around it, run over it, and enjoy what’s on the other side.
9. Get involved, seriously. It may seem silly in the beginning, like it would be a waste of time, but do it. Do it for the junior-you wishing you did so you had something to put on your resume.
10. Get as many internships as possible. I’m all for having fun, but four years will end, and you’ll need something to show for it. Make sure you have at least 2-3 internships in your college career.
11. Be careful of colorful frat drinks. Just be careful, because you never know what else besides calories is in your solo cup.
12. Choose your classes wisely. Don’t kill yourself for semesters at a time. Tack on the bullshit classes, but make sure you leave some easy ones for the last couple of years when the library becomes your best friend (and it will).
13. Don’t take the time for granted. Sure, give yourself a break every once in awhile, but once you have that degree your Netflix and naptime isn’t what you’ll want to remember.
14. Get phone insurance. You’re probably going to lose it at least one.
15. Remember that you are amazing. You got here, and you’re most likely killing it. So don’t give into doubt or anxiety. Always remember what it took to be where you are, and know you have great places yet to go.
16. Go the gym whenever you can. I know it’ll be hard, but you have to, and not just for the social aspect; after college it gets increasingly harder to stay fit.
17. Help people and help yourself. Study with people, listen to them vent, support them in their ventures, and all the good karma will come back to you. This is four years of networking you’ll want under your belt.
18. You will fuck up, and that’s okay. In some way you will feel like a failure and regret something. Get over it as quickly as possible because we all do it and it’s always a learning experience.
19. Smile and be happy. This is your time. This is your adventurously epic life. This is it. Take it for all that it is. Smile at strangers. Laugh too loud. Enjoy it more than you ever thought possible.
20. Always be yourself. It’s easy to get sucked into a lot of different personalities in college, but don’t ever forget who you are. Be proud of that girl, because that girl is damn near awesome.
The best four years of your life await you. Best of luck to you, little sis. I’m always here if you need me.