To My Brother About To Start His Last Year Of High School

For My Little Brother Who Will Be A Senior Next Year, Enjoy It While It Lasts

To my pride and joy, I want you to enjoy everything that high school has to offer.

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My little brother is the light of my life. He's my best friend through thick and thin. I tell him about all of the drama that goes on in my life and even though he's younger than me, he always tries to give me advice.

Every time that I think about him graduating, it brings tears to my eyes. I mean, that's my baby brother. I remember what I was going through at that age, and high school can be hard. It can either be some of the best or worst years of your life.

I look at him and see everything I wish I could be. He is pure, unselfish, and loves so hard. He has a heart made of pure gold. When I look at him, I see everything I wish the world would be.

As he starts the last chapter in his high school years, I wish him nothing but happiness. I want him to have fun afternoons filled with friends and laughter. Afternoons spent walking to the donut shop down the street after band practice.

I want my brother to fall in love in high school and find someone who he thinks he can't live without. If it ultimately doesn't work out, I want him to grow from his experiences.

I want my brother to grow into the handsome and confident man I know he can be. He has so much potential and I see it in him, even when he doesn't see it yet himself.

If I could tell my brother anything before his last year, I would tell him to live life to the fullest. You only get one senior year of high school and you need to make sure you have no regrets when you leave. Join every club you can. Scream your lungs out at every pep rally. Ask that girl to the dance and see what happens.

I would tell my brother to make sure he goes to homecoming and prom. There are so many things I wish I would have done differently about the dances I went to in my senior year. While I was still in high school, I spent so much time trying to please others that I lost track of who I was and what I wanted. I lost focus.

I pray every night that my little brother never forgets who he is and what he's capable of. I hope that he never loses himself trying to make sure that others are taken care of.

The last thing that I would tell my brother is that he is loved beyond what words can describe. He is a shining star, full of love and light, and there is nothing that I wouldn't do for him.

Rob, this next year is your last year in high school - slow down and take the time to soak in everything you can.

I love you infinitely.

Love,

Your big sister.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Living As A Twin Has Its Ups And Downs, But I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

The bond that twins have is one of the strongest bonds to exist.

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I get this question on a daily basis: "What is it like having a twin?" To me, this question is almost as common as someone asking, "How are you?" I always have the same answer every time. My answer is that I don't know any different, so to me, it's just as weird that they don't have a twin. Everything I've learned and experienced was with her, so that was all I knew. I wonder from time to time what it would be like to have been born without a twin, but I feel like that would've just made my life less interesting. However, having a twin does have its ups and downs.

Being a twin can be difficult at times. I like to describe it as having a shadow that is always by your side or behind you. It can feel as if you aren't your own person because everyone refers to you as one of the twins, never just as you. That aspect can get annoying real fast. Sometimes you just want to be your own person and you feel like you cant be. However, college is one thing that helped me with that part of my life because it allowed me to have many more resources to get involved with things I was interested in, not things we were both interested in.

One thing I can say is that having a twin has way more positives than negatives. It's like a built-in friend, a wombmate if you will. When she makes a friend, I make a friend. When she wants to shop, I get to shop. When she has a problem, I try to fix the problem. The bond twins have is hard to explain, but its one of the strongest bonds I believe exists. This person is with you from the very beginning of your life and understands parts of you that others don't even notice.

As time goes by looking back on it obviously there have been times when I wondered if I would be better off without a twin, but I know I wouldn't be. The older I get the more grateful I am that I have a twin because we are at the stage of our lives where many different things are happening and live in different places. Having a twin makes it just a little easier to get through the rough days because you know you have a permanent friend.

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