The time is here. You are finally done high school, and you seem eager as ever to begin your "adult life." I have never been so proud as I when I watched you make that cap and gown walk. As someone who was just in your place not too long ago, I have some advice for you. If it's like any other advice I've given you, I know you're not going to take it. But I hope you listen anyways.
This is just the beginning. I know you think differently, but your life actually starts after you receive your diploma. Up until now has been 18 years of practice. It's now time for you to become the person you were meant to be, and you shouldn't be surprised if that doesn't exactly match up with who you were in high school. You might care more or less about what people think about you. The trivialities of high school become just that and have no place in your college life. You might feel nervous to wear your sweatpants to class, but the kid next to you will probably be wearing pajamas, so don't be. It's ok to be the last person to turn your test in, and the first to turn your homework in. Never be ashamed to ask a question, but never hold the class hostage. Professors have office hours for a reason.
For the next couple years, your advice will be given to you by an array of things. Fortune cookies, shoe boxes, and yes even the nasally professor you swear to hate after they give you a C. Don't forget to find the inspiration in everything, and smile even when the clouds roll in. Your life needs a little rain so your flowers can grow. This rain might be in a failed test, a lost friend, family fight, or a changed major. Just know that whatever it is, it's just pushing you to become who you are meant to be. Some rain is colder than others, but the wildlife returns even after the nastiest hurricane.
Even as you change, never forget where you came from. The best part about becoming someone greater (because you're already great), is knowing how far you have come. Hurdle over your fears. Look your obstacles in the eyes and laugh, just like you've always done. Growing up doesn't mean leaving your memories behind, but stowing them away until you next need them. Keep your mental Polaroids in your pocket, learn from them, and keep them dear.
As your sister, I cannot wait to see the person you will become. In a matter of years I will get to see you cross a stage again, but this time as a college graduate. I'd like to say I'll have advice then too, but despite how I act, I really don't have all the answers. Love you, sis.