Ready for graduation? I know you just got that white dress from Dillard's that mom liked. You're going to regret that later, because it's too poofy to wear under your graduation gown and you're going to look back at your pictures with disgust. Don't worry though, 'cause a year from now, no one will even remember what they wore that day.
In a year from now, you're also going to be a completely different person. Sorry, but you'll be looking at your photos from high school with almost as much embarrassment as you did your pictures from your preteen years. In a year from now, it'll seem like you matured 10 years in 12 months. You'll start realizing who matters and who doesn't, but you still probably won't have that figured out.
You're going to be really, really disappointed at how difficult college ends up being. You're going to cry, a lot. I know you're eager to leave home now, but you're going to end up incredibly homesick, so hang out with mom and dad and go to your little brother's baseball games. Please don't read this and think "she doesn't know what she's talking about," because I swear to you, mom is right, you don't know nearly as much as you think you do.
Believe it or not, you're going to want to switch majors. You're also going to consider dropping out of college at least twice a semester. In a year from now, you're going to have fallen in and out of love a billion times, and I can't promise that you're going to meet your soul mate within the next twelve months, but I can promise you that he exists and he's going to be so, so lucky when he meets you. This next year is not about finding your groom, it's about finding your bridesmaids. Try and keep that in mind, even after you've had a few drinks.
You're going to learn to love yourself. You'll realize that popularity in high school never mattered, and your ACT score only carries you as far as college acceptances go. You'll learn that the freshman 15 is a myth, because gaining that much weight will be impossible with all the walking you'll be doing. You're going to be calling mom, almost too often, and visiting home more than you'd think. You're going to reach emotional highs and lows that you didn't even think possible. But, college is about testing your boundaries, right? And I know you can handle anything.
Start stocking up on cold and flu medicine now, while you have financial support from home. Save all your graduation money for spring break. Before you leave, make sure you pack all your old Halloween costumes, and any ridiculous accessories you have stored from however long ago - they're going to come in handy someday. Memorize your social security number. Invest in a sturdy phone case.
In a year from now, you're going to understand that a truly good group of friends makes you feel good about yourself, while still calling you out on your bulls***. You're going to have to make a lot of decisions, but when you think you made a mistake, remember this: your graduation dress is going to teach you more than I ever could. It'll show you how the things that matter so much to you now, can turn to background noise in an instant. You'll be amazed at what a year can change, so hold tight to the things that are important, and let go of what isn't.
Welcome to the next chapter of your life. It's going to be a hell of a ride; enjoy it while you can. And when you're walking across stage to get your next diploma, wear a dress without tulle. You'll thank me later.
Your older (and wiser, and cooler, and prettier, and smarter) self