I'm just going to cut right to the chase: being the oldest sister has not been the easiest task, believe it or not. Although the role comes with its perks, such as mom & dad's trust, for instance, there are plenty of difficulties that I have faced that you are unaware of, simply because you are younger than me (though, if we're basing this of off looks, many people would say otherwise). One of those struggles has recently emerged as I watch you slowly, but surely, make your way into your last year of high school. All I have wanted, since our wee little years of sharing not just a bedroom, but a bed, has been for you to look up to me and admire, or simply just acknowledged, the things I have accomplished. I did not wish this because I wanted to boast or brag, though as sisters, that is sometimes inevitable. I mainly wanted you to understand that I have been in your shoes, I have made the mistakes that you're about to make, and I have found the ways to power through what seems like the worst days that high school has to offer.
In the upcoming months, you're about to embark on a week-long trip to South Dakota. I'm assuming you'll eventually become increasingly apprehensive towards the idea of traveling to the middle of the country with 20 of your peers. I'll admit, it was one of the weirdest experiences I had throughout my time in high school. Sleeping in the basement of a church next to a person who you only knew because you were locker neighbors is inevitably going to reach some level of awkwardness. Not to mention the stress you'll probably experience when your chaperones tell you that you can't shower for the third night in a row. Nevertheless, the best advice I can give you is to be as open and accepting to the experience as possible. Your stubborn attitude may easily prevent you from having the life-changing experience that this trip is capable of providing. I don't advise you not to worry, though, because worry is good, especially when your worries are eventually cured by an incredible week with incredible people.
College, as great as it is when you get there, seems like the worst thing ever when you're a senior in high school. It's going to feel like an overwhelming amount of choices and decisions, you're going to hate the thought of leaving your friends, and you'll realize living on your own is more terrifying than anything else. One thing I cannot stress enough is the importance of shying away from comparison; do not, I repeat, do not let your friends' decisions influence yours or make you feel less than you are. There is a place for you, and you will thrive beyond your expectations. Listening to your gut is key during this difficult time; no one knows where you need to end up more than you do, so do what feels right! That being said, there are people who are willing to give you the advice to make this decision easier. Don't shut them out; they've lived through similar situations and though you may think you know better, their advice is more valuable than you give them credit for.
Lastly, because I know this is exceeding my usual article length, I want you to welcome every opportunity you get during these next 12 months. You'll never get another year like this one, filled with new friends who you'll love so much you'll be angry you didn't know them sooner (shout out Elizabeth Conway!!!), new memories that you'll cherish so much you'll want to tell your children, and once in a lifetime opportunities that will make your senior year more unique than any other year of high school. Be as open as possible, embrace your personality, and avoid judgment, so that when you finally walk across that stage at graduation, you'll feel nothing but satisfaction with how you left your mark on Scranton Prep.