A Letter to My College-Bound Little Sister

Dear C,

Congrats! You got into college!  I remember how radical that moment felt.  Over break you told me that you had found your university.  The deposit was then made.  It is also FB official, so it must be true.

This summer is going to feel like the slowest summer ever because you will be so ready for move in day.  Now that I am going into my senior year of college, I feel like I know a little bit about the experience to give you some advice.  Every college is different…I understand that; however, I don’t think they are as different as you may think.

So, here is my advice.  I hope you remember it when the time comes.

  1. Guys can be nice?

Contrary to popular belief there are guys out there who are genuinely nice, loving, God-fearing people.  I know the media and others tell you otherwise.  You see FB pages and news articles flooded with scary stories about men.  Yes.  The majority of these stories are true.  There are totally guys out there who are TERRIBLE people.  Bring pepper spray.  However, this is not all guys.  Find the nice guys at your university.  Find the guys who volunteer.  Find the guys who go to Church.  Find the guys who thank the cafeteria worker.    Ask yourself…would my three brothers approve?  If so, I’m sure he is a wonderful person.  If not…walk away.  If you are still confused as to what we would think put him on the phone I’ll be the judge of that.  Never be afraid to call me about boy problems.  It takes a boy to understand a boy.  I usually can decipher what is going on inside our monkey brains.

Always remember to find a man that treats you like the princess that you are.

2.  The TRUE you: Beautiful Inside and Out!  

Obviously, right?  It’s in our genetics.

On a serious note though, there will be so many people in college and life that will try everything they can to make you feel inferior.  They may be jealous of you or just an overall mean person.  They will make comments about you that aren’t true.  They will laugh at you behind your back and mock you in front of your face.  Like I said above there will also be guys that will treat you this way.  Forget them.  During these times when you feel hurt and alone my advice would be to talk to someone.  Call me.  Call a friend from back home. Talk to a close friend at your university.

Listen to the people that know the true you.  

Do not let the harmful words of others build up inside of you and cause chaos.  Surround yourself with people that know you are beautiful inside and out.

3. Work Hard, but STAY HUMBLE.

The fact that you are given the opportunity to go to college is AMAZING. Do not ever forget that.

One of my favorite Bible verses that reminds me every day how we should live is…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Philippians 2:3.

In college the work load is nothing like high school.  It is so much harder especially the field you are going into.  Therefore, remember to not let the everyday distractions get in the way of the work you need to do.  If you study hard and do your best you will succeed academically.  I know that.  But when you do succeed, remember to stay humble about it.  Help those around you that are struggling to get receive great grades.  Do not let competition prevent you from valuing the greatness in others.  If you do your best you will win the prize, but remember to help others receive the prize as well.

4. Make friends that BUILD YOU UP.  

The greatest things about friendship is it provides a support system.  You are going to college far away from home just like me.

It is a BIG change.

When you take an airplane to school you are leaving everything behind.  Yeah you have a cell phone and the internet to connect you with family and old friends; however, it is not the same.  You need people in your community to be physically present with you.  You need quality friendships.  I say “quality” because some friendships are superficial.  There is no depth to them.  Quite frankly, should these relationships even be called friendships? You need to find individuals who make you a better person each and everyday.  You need to find friends that challenge you academically and spirituality.  These are friendships that will be built out of love for one another.  As Aristotle would say these are not friendships of “utility.” These people will do things for you just because they care so much about you.  They will not need to receive any form of praise or a reward for helping you.  They will choose to be by your side no matter what…because they love you for you.

These are the types of friendships you deserve.

5.  Don’t let likes define you.  

I get it.  Lots of likes on an Insta or FB photo is pretty sweet.  Not gonna lie it feels good.  However, don’t let the likes define you.  Don’t strive to be known by others for your photos but to be known by  your kindness.  To be known by others for your wisdom.  To be known by others for your patience.  To be known by others for your loyalty.  To be known by others for your generosity.

Best of all, to be known by others for the way in which you follow in the footsteps of Christ.  

6. Treat your body well.

Sleep is important.  Really really important.  I found this out when I started hallucinating in my Biology final freshman year from sleep deprivation.  You may think you will get the proper amount of sleep every night but trust me…in college you will neglect it.  Staying up late at night with friends is usually always a good time.  Cherish those moments.  However, don’t let it cause you to slip up in other areas of your life.  Sleep allows you to destress.  It will give you the energy to be present with others throughout the day.

Try your best to eat healthy.  I know you already eat super healthy, but to be honest it gets hard to do freshman year.  The dining halls aren’t the best place to find quality food.  Don’t get discouraged by the poor options, but do your best to make it work.

Lastly, be sure to work out as often as possible.  I know right now you work out consistently, but I will tell you that once the work load gets tough it will be hard to stay consistent.  Working out takes out a large chunk of time from the day.  You need to change, workout, shower, then eat a lot because you will be super hungry.  So stay organized and you will have no problem finding the time.  Be smart with your time and prioritize.  I was definitely not the best at organization, you know that from my room at home.  Don’t be like me.  If you follow these health tips your body will be thanking you ten years from now.

7.  Love God, Love Others 

I put this last because it is the most important.  If you are going to take anything away from these small pieces of advice remember this…Nothing in this life is more important than loving God and the people He has made.  God has gotten me through hell week after hell week.  God has been with me late at night when I feel like the weight of the world was crushing me.  God has guided me to the right professors, friends, and organizations that have allowed me to express my talents.  Without my faith I do not think I could have made it this far in college.

Attending Church on Sunday is great don’t get me wrong, but you need to do more than just that in college.  The hustle and bustle of the average day in college makes it difficult to prioritize.  Something I have slacked on is listening to God in prayer.  Take time out of your day to thank God for your ups and downs and for being with you through the storm.  Persevere with prayer.  It is a scary thought to think we spend hours in connection with the Internet everyday, yet give God barely anytime in prayer.

Therefore, I ask you to spend time with God each day while starting college.  Read the Bible and pray for your friends and others in your community.  Through prayer God will guide you on a beautiful path you never knew existed.  Ephesians 3:20 says,

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Why is this such an important passage in the Bible?  It shows us that God does more than ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE.  Is that not awesome?! God is doing HUGE things for us each day, things that our earthly minds cannot even fathom.

With this all being said if you focus your attention on God you will begin to love on all the people around you.  The light of Christ will emit from your very core.

I end by telling you this…the memories I will cherish from college have nothing to do with academics.  Sure learning is amazing.  Education is such a blessing.  Academics are why I am here.  However, the moments these past three years, which have shaped me into the person I am today, have involved friendships and faith.  You will be surprised at how much you will change each semester.  I definitely would not be friends with my high school self.

Now, go out there and experience the best four years of your life.  I look forward to hearing all of your stories and watching you grow in friendships with others and faith in God.

P.S.  Remember…your big brother is always watching.

Love you C,

Nick

 

 

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