Dear Little Sib,

Three years ago, I was in the same position you are in now, feeling like I had the world on a string and I could conquer just about anything. It's a whole new feeling of freedom -- that knowledge that you are about to finish up your high school career and move onto bigger and better things, whatever they may be. You're an adult now. You're finally 18, and with that newfound adulthood the possibilities of what you can do with your life -- what you can become -- suddenly became much broader.

But please do me a favor: do not waste your last moments in high school. From someone who has experienced it, I'm sure you are dying to get out of that tiny school or out of the state as you move onto your collegiate career. It's tedious seeing the same people you have probably seen for most of your life, and you are about to reach a point where that will no longer be the case. You will no longer walk in the halls with the peers you have known for years upon years. You will no longer be confined to one building, but many spread across a college campus. And you will no longer have that feeling of familiarity that has developed over the course of your time in high school. So do not waste it. Cherish those feelings and those moments and those peers for the little bit of time you have left together because I promise you will miss it.

Soon you will be faced with a lot of choices, some easier than others. For the first time, you will be in a place where not everyone is watching your every move. You'll be encouraged to go out and drink -- and it's perfectly fine if you want to. But it's also okay to say no because you are now responsible for your schoolwork and well-being. No one is going to make sure that you finish that five page paper or that you attend you classes. So it is up to you to decide what needs to be done, what will be of the most benefit to you in the long-run rather than short-term.

Sometimes, you will find, the only person you can count on is yourself. As you experience your first taste of "the real world," you are bound to find that it is not that picture-perfect experience depicted in the movies and on TV. Life after high school is challenging, and there is no way to sugar coat it to make it seem easy. I would be lying to you if I did. So remember where you came from; remember your values; remember your morals -- what mom and dad have taught us about right and wrong. And if you feel like you cannot handle it on your own, you know I am one call/text away.

I love you, and I am so proud of you and your accomplishments thus far. Keep it up! You can do it!

~Your Big Sibling