I sent my little sister to college a few weeks ago. Quite an emotional experience for all who were involved. Standing on the curb by her apartment I gave her the standard big sister speech. I thought of all the things that she would encounter. All of the people who would try to persuade her. The collegiate moments that would shape the rest of her life. I couldn't help but be overcome with anxiety and the feeling that there were numerous things I had forgotten to tell her. And what would she do without those golden nuggets of advice?!?!? Undergrad, as I discovered, is a jungle of indecision and free-will. You test your limits, you find your boundaries...thankfully.
So, barring all of my inhibitions and shamelessly promoting my overbearing, big sister tendencies; I decided to write her a letter...well, a list really. Of things that I know, knew and wish (like Hell) I'd known about college. Here's goes...
(1) Go to to the gym and eat healthy once in a while. Your child bearing years, and more importantly, your 20's will thank you.
(2) College is not a digression from every ounce, of common sense that you ever had, but rather a progression toward adulthood. Treat it as such.
(3) Not every boy that you meet is your boyfriend, or your soulmate, or the love of your life. Some will just be your best friend, your comic relief, you protective big brother. Learn the difference between them.
(4) Take some 8 o'clock classes your last semester of school. Waking up for your job in the real world, will be much less of a shock.
(5) PARTY!!....in moderation. No one likes a party animal.
(6) STUDY. Your college grades DO MATTER.
(7) It's ok not to drink in college. Plus, you are not even 21! Pace your self.
(8) Try new music! I know they say that hip-hop is dead, but it's probably still on every station that you listen to. Find some banjo music, some opera, latin music, etc. Make a playlist, mix CD or something that reminds you of all the music you loved in college. So then, we you get your first job (and if it's boring) you can rock out at your desk and dream of yesteryear.
(9) DO NOT wear sweats or pajama pants to class everyday. You have clothes, wear them.
(10) TAKE pictures. They will tell the stories that you cannot.
(11) Call yo Mama. She still knows best. Plus, she will call you 2X as much if you don't call her.
(12)Vote. Because your sister taught you well.
(13) Get in at least one heated conversation per week with someone over a serious topic for which you will never find an answer. Religion, politics, global warming. Pick one. It helps to stretch your brain and entertain diverse opinions. That's what college is all about.
(14)Live. No really, LIVE. You will only be an undergraduate college student ONCE. Because once you get that diploma, the real world will expect more of you than your college professors and friends ever did. Grad school, by the way, is nothing like undergrad. P.S- I haven't been to grad school yet, so that's mere speculation.
(15) When you finish college, GROW UP. It would be really unfortunate to waste your 20's trying to figure out things you should already know. :-/ Still, never loose your sense of child-like adventure.
(16) NEVER EVER forget who you are and do not compromise your integrity. Try new things, sure, but remain rooted in the things that make you uniquely Shambree. Even as the world changes around you, don't be afraid to stand apart. If, somehow, you forget who you are, call your sisters, we'll remind you :-)
(17) Be a true, honest and loyal friend. You don't have to be the most popular person, but there should be at least a hand full of people who can count on you, and vice versa.
(18) Your diploma is not the end, it's just the beginning....:-)
Take these things to heart each day, not as commandments but rather as suggestions. From someone who has been there and done that. (0r at least thought about it ;-)