To my little brother on his graduation day,
Here you are.
Nearly thirteen years in the making, about to walk across the stage and move into the next part of your life. It’s crazy to think you’re eighteen and about to graduate high school. It feels like I graduated yesterday and the day before that we were kids playing in mud puddles outside and riding our bikes down the road.
But here you are.
You’re working hard to prepare for your senior exhibition, which I know you’ll crush. Mom is stressing about your open house invitations and planning the event that will undoubtedly go on without hitch because of her careful planning. Dad is helping you with your presentation and 3D printer. Caitlyn is coping with the fact that she will be the only kid left next year. And I’m getting ready to leave the country.
I’m upset that I’m going to miss your exhibition. You were there for mine and I want to be there for you, but life gets in the way sometimes. I’ll get back just in time to be jet lagged and helping mom get your open house together. Then the day after you will graduate.
I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished. You have grown (literally and figuratively) into a bright young man with a brilliant future if you work hard and take every opportunity that comes your way. I cannot wait to see what you do next, but first, you have to get through the biggest day of your life to date.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much from the day I graduated. I remember snippets, but it’s all become a blur. You probably won’t remember much either, but I’m here to tell you to try to soak it all in.
You’ve worked extremely hard to get where you are today and you deserve to walk across that stage and move on to the next phase of your life.
You’ll hear this from everybody, but you are about to complete the easiest part of your life. These past thirteen years of school has so far been the easiest in the grand scheme of things. You are technically already an adult, but now it’s about to become more real. You’ll be a college student, worrying about grades, exams, your major, your finances, and your future.
It’ll be overwhelming; that I can tell you with the utmost certainty. I’ve been doing it for two years now and I’m still overwhelmed. I’ve gotten better at managing it, but it still leaves me breathless sometimes. But you’re tough. You’ll be able to handle it and thrive in a place that accepts you for who you are, quirks and all.
I just wanted to let you know that this next part of your life will test you in every way imaginable, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Like I said before, I’ve been doing it for two years now and I will be with you every step of the way should you need help.
If you remember nothing from this letter, remember this.
Never be afraid to ask for help.
This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way and I don’t want you to have to suffer through it like I had to. Everyone needs help at any given point of their life and asking for it doesn’t mean that you aren’t strong enough to handle it yourself. It means that you’re brave and tough enough to seek out assistance when you are lost. You’d be surprised to know that most college students are lost and confused and find themselves looking for help at every turn. Perhaps that’s the most important thing I’ve learned so far in my college career; that asking for help isn’t something that is shameful.
If you need help, ask for it. You won’t be thought of as less or that you can’t handle it. Asking for help is noble and everyone does it, even me.
I know you’re focused on just getting through your exhibition, exams, and open house before you even worry about graduating and going away to school. Just know that I am always here if you need help or guidance. I will always be your big sister and one of your biggest supporters. Even if you just need someone to talk to, I will always be here.
Congratulations on graduating.
Enjoy the experience; you deserve it.
Your Big Sister