Dear My Little Sister, While You're In College

Dear My Little Sister, While You're In College

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance."
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My travel buddy, my adventure partner, my biggest target, the girl that I grew up alongside; my sister. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the concept that you’re already nineteen, a freshman in college, and no longer baby balloon. Although it’s sometimes tough to think about, I can’t help but be excited as you take on this next stage of your life. As you enter your nineteenth year, the best advice I could offer you is this:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance,”

You may not have realized it, but I’ve been preaching this all along. Before leaving you at college, I reminded you to knock on everyone’s door in your residence hall and to say yes to as many things as possible in your first week there. It’s about getting to know people, and experiencing something for all that it’s worth, these are going to be the best years of your life. I’m jealous that you still have 3 more.

I hope you dance more than you will remember. Dancing has the ability to cure all of the stress that the weekday classes has caused you. I have found that my friends here often need to remind me of this, and I’m so thankful for that. You will find yourself wanting nothing more than to go to bed some Fridays after a long week, but you must remember to dance.

I hope you dance when you do well. It is important to celebrate your accomplishments and to show appreciation for yourself. Set goals and crush them, and don’t forget to celebrate when you have. If you don’t reward yourself, it will be very hard to motivate yourself to continue to do well. You can only go up from here.

I hope you dance when nobody’s watching. You don’t always need to be at a party to dance, sometimes the best time is when you’re completely alone. Often times I think nobody’s watching, but I’ve been caught, and that’s ok too because you’ll make them laugh. In my opinion dancing by yourself is the ultimate sign of true happiness.

Lastly, I hope you dance with your best friends. These people are your lifetime friends, and you get to live with them right now. Dance with them as much as you can. Some of my most cherished memories include lip-sync battles and ditching parties to have dance marathons with 80's music because that’s more fun anyway. I hope that you can make similar memories of your own.

Don’t ever sit it out.

Cover Image Credit: Kylie Barnes

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I followed her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, I just walked right inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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