open letter to brother starting college

An Open Letter To My Little Brother As He Begins His College Journey

I can't wait to see what you accomplish next.

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Ryan,

You did it! You finally accomplished the first major educational milestone in your life: high school. Your next move is college and I'm here to give you some advice.

College, as you may have probably guessed from witnessing my journey for the last four years, is not an easy task. It's not for the faint of heart and it is definitely not for the slackers.

Unlike high school, you will have to buy your own books in college. Your professors won't care if you don't buy or bring your books to class. They won't remind you to get them.

Your professors also will not bat an eye if you miss class. They won't call you, email you or track down your parents because you skipped your 9 a.m. lecture. You are paying to sit in that seat and learn, so it is your responsibility to show up.

College is for figuring out what you want to do with your life. In my four years of college, I've changed my major three times before I finally found what I was passionate about. If you decide what you're studying isn't for you, it's ok to switch. Do what makes you happy.

I want you to know that college is not a race. Whether you fail a class, change your major or experience something else that causes you to have a setback, don't stress. You will finish when you finish.

Having a planner helps BIG TIME, especially if you are taking a big course load. I learned quickly that I couldn't remember everything. Write all of your assignments, test dates, project due dates and appointments down. It will save you time and stress in the long run.

Don't feel stupid for visiting your professor during their office hours. It's what they are there for. Some professors don't answer questions in class, so if you are confused, mark it in your notes and go out of your way to get help. Trust me on this.

While college is there for you to learn and get experience in your field, you also need to remember to make time for yourself, friends and family. Getting the hang of balancing your new responsibilities with your existing life can seem impossible and overwhelming at first, but after a semester or two, you will get the hang of it.

Watching you grow up for the last 18 years has been a rollercoaster. I've witnessed most of your sports games and have watched you grow as a person. As you begin the next chapter of your life, I have no doubt that you will succeed and land a job in the field that you've expressed so much love and passion for.

I can't wait to help guide you and watch your college journey unfold in front of you. I will be here to help guide you and assist you in making decisions that are best for you.

I'm so proud of the person you are becoming and I can't wait to see what you accomplish next.

I am so proud of you.

Cover Image Credit:

Megan Courtney

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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