My brother and I never really saw eye to eye with anything. We were notoriously known as the "fighting siblings", always arguing, bickering, and never getting along. Over the course of the past few years, we have grown to have a close bond that I am so grateful for. When I was younger, I used to ask him to leave the house while I had friends over, because I didn't want to argue or cause a scene in front of my friends. Now, though, I invite him to whatever group hangout I have while home. I think it's grown this way, because we have grown up, but also because I no longer live at home.
We are so close in age, but I will always look at him as a baby because he's my baby brother. In a few short weeks, he'll be preparing for the next chapter of his life, that I never could imagine: college, in another state than me. For the first time in my life, I am going to be at a school that isn't the same school as him or within a 10 mile radius of him and let me tell you, I am extremely sad. I don't know how to feel about it, because who wants their little brother to grow up? Definitely not me.
I want to teach you a few lessons, though, to save you the headache, the heartbreak, and the sanity. So, pull up a seat and get comfy, my little dude, and please, for once in your life, listen to what I'm about to say.
To my not-so-little brother,
Watching you grow up has truly been a crazy experience, but I am so glad that our friendship has grown into what it is, and I hope it continues to grow. As you leave for college in a few short months, I thought I could shed a little bit of light on the crazy rollercoaster that is freshman year of college. For starters, don't take the easy way out of things. I know you might want to skip a class, because for once in your life you don't have someone telling you what to do, but please don't if you don't have a valid reason to. It'll get you into a bad groove and make you unmotivated, so don't skip, no matter how hungover you may be, or how little sleep you got the night before. You'll thank yourself later that you went.
Second, go out, as much as you can, without missing exams or homework assignments. I kind of regret not going out as much after midterms hit, because I missed out on a lot of fun memories that my friends would talk about, and I felt left out.
Third, get involved, whether it be in Greek life, a club or organization, or even by keeping yourself busy with working out or sports. It helps keep you busy and makes you learn time management skills that I wish I would have learned sooner.
Fourth, make your grades a priority, but failing a couple of exams is not the end of the world.
Fifth, don't stress anything, and just go with the flow of college. If it won't matter in 5 years, don't stress over it now, whether it is a failed test, a stressful situation, anything, just don't stress out.
Sixth, take pictures and videos every day you do something interesting or fun. It helps save the memory of those nights, and you can also look back on the memories when you start to forget.
Lastly, I know you don't see it now, but thank Mom and Dad for everything.
They truly have raised us to be strong-willed, determined kids, and you will miss them so much once you leave, trust me. I call them just about every day, and you will never really realize how much your parents do for you until you're on your own. So give them a hug and say thank you, but most importantly, overuse the privilege of Mom still doing your laundry and making meals for you while you still can, because eating ramen while doing your laundry and cramming for an exam at 3 a.m. would be much less stressful if she could do my laundry just one more time.
I know it might seem like you're not prepared for college mentally, but you are. This is about to be the biggest step in your teenage life, and it will be a good one. Enjoy college while you can, because now your days of going out with your school friends and partying it up are numbered, and trust me, if you think high school went by fast, just wait. Hopefully, you learn some better time management skills than I did but stay focused and stay strong-headed. You're a smart, talented kid with a (somewhat) good sense of humor, but most of all you are one hell of a brother.
College is going to be a wild ride, but I am extremely sad that we'll be so far away from each other so soon. I hope you come visit me and I hope to do the same, but life is about to get real different real fast, and I just want you to know that I am so incredibly proud of you and the person you have grown into. I am so happy to have a brother as cool as you. I can't wait to see how well you succeed in college, but I am going to miss you so much.
Now, I'm going to leave you with the famous words of Ferris Bueller, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Slow down and enjoy the memories, kid. I am so proud of you, congrats, you are about to embark on a crazy journey, just don't lose sight of who you are and where you came from. Love ya kiddo.