On College: My Advice for My Little Sister

1. Welcome change. Let yourself evolve. Shed your old skin and grow into your new skin. Use color to fill in each and every outline you create for yourself until one sticks.

2. Don’t leave stones unturned because you don’t feel like doing it. I mean this in two different ways. The first part – check off all the things on your bucket list. Get painted for games, watch the sunrise, go to all of the restaurants downtown. The second, don’t say no out of laziness. Apply for the grant even though it’s a long application. Join the club even if you don’t know anyone in it. Do the research assignment even if it cuts into Netflix time. Take the internship even if it’s unpaid.

3. Establish relationships with your professors. It’s scary but it’s always possible. Just take advantage of office hours.

4. Don’t drink the PJ. Ever.

5. Understand that freshman year is going to be really hard. Know that college doesn’t stop being hard. Everyone says they’re the best years of your life – and maybe that is true – but they also should be the most transformative. They’re called growing pains for a reason.

6. Understand that it is truly okay that you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. I think that’s a good thing. Try on different hats. Explore every option. Enter worlds through new doors and see where they take you. You never know where you’re going to land so don’t stress trying to predict it, but regardless of where your path takes you make sure you always dream big.

7. Hang out with new people. Try to meet new people all of the time. Step outside your comfort zone. You’re in a place where hundreds of other like minded individuals of a similar academic caliber are also learning and growing. Learn from each other and bounce around ideas.

8. Pursue the things you’re passionate about and keep practicality in the back of your mind.

9. Take classes outside your major. Get that liberal arts education. One day, if not now, you’ll appreciate that you can discuss the timbre of a musical work or identify an interesting constellation.

10. Take classes simply because you heard the professor rocks, even if the topic doesn’t peak your interest. Passion rarely goes wasted.

11. Pick your classes with intention and careful planning.

12. Understand that you don’t have to drink to get drunk.

13. Know that even though the pressure is unbelievable and it sometimes seems like there’s never enough hours in a day, you are always enough.

14. Remember to do things for you. If you like reading, take the time to read. If you like running, take the time to run. There’s always time to take care of and attend to yourself and your very human needs – especially since there always seems to be time for Facebook and Instagram.

15. Start building your resume freshman year and don’t waste your summers.

16. Travel is never a waste of time. Study abroad. I promise you won’t miss anything during that semester away except for hook ups and break ups and I promise, you’ll never regret it.

17. Ask smart questions and don’t be afraid to ask for the things you want. If you don’t make a case for yourself, no one will.

18. Give back to and get involved with the community that is home to your campus.

19. Spend nice days outside, even if you’re hungover. Go for walks.

20. Cherish the special moments you have with friends. Really, truly pay attention to them. These are the moments that will add color to your memories.

21. Choose the people with whom you spend the majority of your time with intention. They’ll shape you, mold you and stitch you back together over the years.

22. Keep a list of things you want to do and make sure you’re checking things off as you go.

23. Write. Bleed words. It’s cathartic, it’ll help you keep track of how much you’ve grown and let you reflect on who you are and you want to be. Plus, it’s one of the most invaluable skills that you can develop. Develop it now while you have time to spare.

24. Take pictures, but take pictures to capture true moments. Not to remember what outfit you were wearing or to look good on social media. It’s good to keep hard copies of memories.

25. You are your own person. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, leave it. If something doesn’t feel good say no. Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to be up for anything.

26. Take moments to be proud of all that you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve came. You deserve that.

27. Pay attention to your changing personality. Figure out what makes you sad and what makes you happy. Pay attention to how you can affect other people’s emotions. Emotional Intelligence will get you far.

28. Do not think twice about what other people think. When it comes to that, spend your energy on being grateful for the positive and supportive people that surround you rather than on those who are draining.

29. Take adventures. Get the hell out. Skip class for a music festival, go to a new city for Easter weekend, go to Europe on spring break, use Sundays to check out the next town over. Remember to get off campus and associate with humans that aren’t 18-22 years old or your teachers. Don’t waste the freedom that gives college it’s beauty. It’s valuable and fleeting. Never again will you be able to decide that you don’t feel like showing up without facing serious repercussions.

30. Remember gratitude. You are priveledged to be receiving an education. Do not take it for granted and do not waste it. Put hours in at the library, prioritize your work when it needs to be prioritized, take advantage of all of the resources literally sitting at your disposal and explore fields until you find your calling. Talk to people, utilize your network. Education is a luxury, not a necessity and you are not entitled to it so please, take full, full advantage of it.

Above all, have fun and make sure you’re enjoying it. It’s the journey, not the destination they say so make sure you’re making the most of each small step you take. And always remember, you’re so very loved. I’m proud of ya nug and I know you’re going to do great things.

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