Dear Little Sister,
It's been a couple of weeks since fall term started, and now you're one of the new freshman living in a tiny dorm, pulling all-nighters, getting in 20,000 steps a day of walking across campus and trying to figure out the rest of your life.
Taylor Swift couldn't have said it better: You're happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.
These next four years are going to be some of the most instrumental ones of your life, and I can't wait to see the person you grow into.
I'm glad you went away -- it was time for you to experience new things, meet new people and take new chances. I admire your tenacity and your bravery, but like any big sister, I have some good ole' college advice for you. As the saying goes, "hindsight is 20/20."
Don't Let the Beginning Freak You Out
Where you are now is so much different than where you've been your whole life. You have a new kind of independence. There's no one nagging you to do housework and the freedom to do what you want, when you want.
At first, all of this might make you feel invincible. But then, reality will set in. You'll realize your family is hours away, walking across campus to get a meal is annoying and the funds in your bank are limited. Don't let it ruin your dream. These difficulties are all part of life and the process of starting college.
You'll grow to have a routine, you'll get used to the distance from home, and maybe even grow an appreciation for it. Give yourself a week to feel homesick, then move on. There are so many amazing things and endless opportunities coming your way.
You Might Have to Make Some Sacrifices
Living on your own and having freedom is amazing, but staying disciplined is the reason you'll succeed. Enjoy yourself, but don't forget the reason you're there.
Getting an education so you can be successful in life is the most important thing, and sometimes that means skipping a weeknight club function to finish your Econ notes, or staying in on a Friday night to study.
Sacrificing a few nights, or weekends, in dedication to your education doesn't mean your whole experience will suffer; it just means your studying reward might be Netflix instead of a frat party.
Take Care of Yourself!
Don't confuse discipline with overexertion. Between all the classes, tests, notes, projects and assignments, you're going to have to find time to give your brain a break.
Hit the gym to blow off some steam, find a quiet place to read or grab some froyo with a friend. Making time for yourself will keep you sane.
Try Not to Worry. Enjoy this Experience.
Every day isn't going to be easy, and sometimes you're going to question yourself on if you've made the right decisions. When you're having these moments, let yourself feel them -- then move forward. Don't stress too much about your homework and personal life, you'll find a balance of work and play.
Try not to let little decisions rule your day. Eat that chocolate chip bagel with cream cheese for breakfast without worrying about the calories. (I know you want to.) Enjoy pizza with your friends, spend some time exploring the city and go to the football games.
Most Importantly, You Can Always Come to Me for Anything
Don't forget that I'm just a text or a call away at any given time. Even though we have our differences, I want to hear what's going on and I have a lot of advice to offer you.
Know that although you went to college on your own, you are never truly alone. I'm proud of you, and I'll always be there as your big sister.