Dear Little Sis,

The first thing that I want you to know is that I am so incredibly proud of you. I know graduating from high school seems like something everyone does, but each individual journey to the end of those four long years is different. You made it through yours, and that is such an amazing accomplishment.

It definitely flies. I remember my senior year of high school when you were a freshman and believe it or not, it was a lot of fun to see you through those halls. Now you get to relax for the summer and then go on to bigger and better things in college. It may seem scary, but all adventures are, right? College is a lot to handle, and it may sound crazy, but you are ready. I promise. And if not, here's a little advice from your big sister:

Don't be a hermit crab.

It may be tempting to sit in your single dorm all day and watch Pretty Little Liars, but go and find a club that is fun and do something that you're passionate about. That's how I came to find that Eastern was my home, and not just some campus that I took classes at. Even if it is just getting a study group together or grabbing a bite to eat with a few classmates, you could find some friends that will last you a lifetime.

Take risks.

Think that one class with that crazy professor will be a challenge? Do it! I have found that you learn the most (not just about the topic being covered), about yourself as a student and how to handle challenges in the harder classes. Some people will call you literally insane, but sometimes there is a little method to the madness.

Know your limits.

In high school, you were always one to stay up into the early hours of the morning and study your butt off until you knew what the test was on like the back of your hand. I also remember that being too much for you. If you need to sleep, get some rest. There comes a time that you reach your study limit and you won't retain any more information. Knowing your limits comes outside of studying as well. If you need to say no to going out with some friends because you need time for yourself, that's okay!

Ask for help if you need it.

Your professors are there for you and want you to do well, and it is in your best interest to go to their office hours if you need help. This goes for your RA and your guidance counselor as well. Even if it is just the smallest thing of "do I need my own laundry detergent," people are there to help you (by the way... yes, yes you need that).

Failure is OK.

No matter what it is, sometimes things get to hard and you don't do the best in a class, or you don't get that job you wanted. It is totally okay! Not to quote Hannah Montana here, but really nobody is perfect. Failing at something just gives you an opportunity to get back up and try again, come back stronger, and work harder to reach whatever goal you have set for yourself.

Appreciate the little things.

Go outside and take walks every once and a while. I have found that nature is incredibly soothing, and sometimes it is the little things that just calm you down when you're going through a stressful time. Sometimes, I even listen to certain songs just to smile at a memory. Take little moments to spend with the friends you make, often times, the 3 a.m. talks or a run to 7/11 for Slurpees are the most memorable.

Take a class every once and a while that will be fun for you, even if it is as simple as "Introduction to Photography" or "Harry Potter Literature." Sometimes the fun classes are your break from all the others, and it's something small to look forward to.

JUST BE YOURSELF.

I know it sounds cliché and a little silly, but this is the best thing you can do for yourself. It's important to choose the major you want for yourself, regardless of what everyone is telling you. Find what you love and pursue everything that comes along with it. In addition, your personality is beautiful and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. People should accept you for you, and if they don't, they were not worth it in the first place.

I hope this small amount of advice will help you while you're off in college (at least a little bit). It's going to be really, REALLY, weird knowing that you're not going to be living at home where I can hear your laugh through the wall at night, or know I can just come home and play a video game with you to relax for a bit.

I just want you to know that I am only a phone call away and I am here for you always, no matter the distance. I love you so much, and I know you are going to do so many great things. You are my person. I couldn't have said it better than Cristina Yang from Grey's Anatomy, "Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don't give a damn what anyone thinks."


With more love than you know,

Big Sis