Dear Little Sister,
You’re not so little anymore! Wow, when did this whole growing up thing happen? It seems like just yesterday we were chasing each other around the house and having secret conversations in Nintendo DS chatrooms…now I’m halfway done with college and as of today, you are a high school graduate!
I know this time in your life is full of uncertainty and so many goodbyes. I know you have that bundle of nerves, excitement, and fear in your gut; I remember feeling the same way when I graduated two years ago. Once you realize that a part of life you grew so accustomed to is ending, every day is more bittersweet than the one before it. But I am not writing these words to make you cry even more tears than you have today. I am here to tell you that this is where it all begins.
The moment you crossed that stage tonight in your cap and gown (and you looked beautiful doing it, by the way), you closed a chapter full of memories, academic and personal achievements, hard work, friendships, and laughter. But you also opened a brand new chapter full of the exact same things. You did a lot of growing in high school, little sis, but you will grow leaps and bounds in college. You are entering some of the most important years of your life, although you might not realize it as you’re living them. Higher education is a whole new ball game — it is the place where you finally get to explore your passions and discover your potential. It’s where your social circle expands to include your roommate, floormates, classmates, and party acquaintances (and yes, your best friends since childhood will still be with you). It’s where you’ll spend many sleepless nights studying in the library or your dorm for a difficult exam you may never be prepared enough for.
All of the ups and downs that lie ahead of you are worth it, I promise. You know why? Because the one feeling that will stick with you through it all is the incredible sense of independence. Your time at university benefits no one as much as it benefits you. I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing better than waking up, walking to class, and taking in your surroundings at the place you will soon call home. You may not feel ready, and that’s okay — thirteen years of education have prepared you for the transition to adulthood, but no one is ever really ready for anything. You just have to jump into freshman year headfirst and have faith that things will work themselves out. Making a life for yourself is hard work and scary as hell, but it’s also more exhilarating than you can imagine, and you never have to do it alone. I can’t wait to watch you do so many amazing things tomorrow as you build on the strong, successful woman you are today!
So, little sister, as you lie in bed tonight and process the culmination of your high school career, I hope you feel accomplished. I hope you look back on the past four years with immense pride and joy while also anticipating the next four years. It’s okay to be sentimental and nostalgic and teary-eyed, as I demonstrated so well after the ceremony. And throughout these summer days before everything changes, I hope you remember some very wise words from Taylor Swift: “It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age.”
Long live all the magic you made. Happy Graduation!
Your Big Sister ❤