Alyssa,

The time has come. Your 21st birthday is coming up. You've been working on a summer internship. You're growing up. You went through your four years of high school in a breeze towards the top of your class, and you're about to do the same with college. Your hard work and dedication doesn't go unnoticed and never will. You weren't stopped when you had to start school at a branch campus. You weren't stopped when you came into school as a junior not having taken a single class in your major yet. You showed everyone what you can do.

Soon enough, that will all pay off. We're all so proud of you and can't wait to cheer for you when you graduate next year. It seems so surreal even just typing it. My sister who has been by my side since day one is about to go off into the real world and leave us all behind. Before you become the rockstar and intelligent researcher you've dreamt of for a while now, don't forget to enjoy your last year.

You're going to be experiencing your last football games. Seems strange that last year was your very first year at a Penn State football game, but now it'll be your last. Go to every game. Scream every cheer. Stay the whole time. You've never not done any of these before, but really take it in. You're going to miss it when you're gone, but you can always come to visit your baby sister whenever you're not working hard.

You're going to experience your last THON. Again, seems strange that last year was just your first and now this is your last. If all goes planned, I'll be in Barcelona while you dance the weekend away. I hope you get to accomplish your dream of dancing for the kids. Even though I won't be there to see it, I know you'll be doing a great job and staying strong through it all. Take it all in. Look around at the stands at the people right by your side. This will be a memory you'll never want to forget. Being with people you love the most doing something you love for people in need. You are and always have been so selfless, and I cannot wait to watch you beam through the live stream.

You're going to be experiencing your last few nights out. Don't listen to mom or dad. Of course, study and get good grades, but go out. You will get into grad school. You will get a job. You will accomplish anything you want because you always do. Go out with your friends at the bars. Surround yourself with the best people and have the best times. You want to look back at your last year and remember how amazing it was and the amazing people you spent it with. You won't be remembering the endless nights you stayed up studying. Make it count!

Soon enough, you'll be walking on the stage in your navy cap and gown receiving that bachelor's degree everyone knew you would get. Mom, dad and I will be crying in the audience wondering how you already did it and how you did it so fast. Just remember how fast the years have gone. Remember what made them the best. Remember to make the most of your final year. Don't take anything for granted and take it all in. There may be a lot of lasts you are about to experience, but this is just the beginning of a whole new path that will lead to the rest of your life. Keep being amazing!