Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brotherly Love

Some people struggle with the question "What is most important in life?". I, however, do not. Through all of my trials and tribulations, goodbyes and hellos, new jobs and new places, I have carried with me what is most important to me - the people in my life.

Cheesy? Yes. Corny? Absolutely. True? Couldn't be more.

While I've always been lucky in family, I haven't always been so lucky in friends and love - but, hey, who gets everything right on the first try? But, through thick and thin (very thin if I reflect back on my JT days), they have always been there for me.

So, why am I writing about this today? Well, by sending off his first care package it finally hit me - my little brother is in college. And not just any college, a college that it will take me three plane rides to get to in a few weeks.

It also finally hit me how spread out our tight-knit family now is. Going home to Kansas used to mean one-stop-shopping in the family department. Everyone was there when I arrived, and everyone waved goodbye when I left. It was like a little safety net that I could fall into whenever I needed to get away. Now we're all packing up and heading to Oregon to visit the little one. Different, but still great.

Look out, Oregon, we're coming for you!

Oh, and he's not just easing into his college experience, he's already fully immersed in his new fraternity, new friends, new life - but he's the same old CJ.

Being a freshman in college - now that brings me back. Maybe that's another reason I'm struggling with him being "all grown up" - because I'm terrified that he'll repeat ANY (please, not all) of the mistakes that I made during my four years at MU. But hey, I turned out just fine... I think.

Ok, maybe not...

Now, it's time to get down to business. A few things that I would have liked to know when I was a freshman. Little brother, this is for you.

Dear College Freshman Sarah,

Hello! It's you, but much, much older (like mid-20's older... yikes). You've got four wonderful years ahead of you, and no, people aren't exaggerating when they say it flies by, so treasure every second. Having already gone through everything that you're about to experience, I wanted to pass along some words of wisdom that I wish someone would've told me when I was that age. First of all, never put vodka in a water bottle and leave it in your refrigerator unmarked. You will wake up dying for water, and take a swig. If you choose to go down this road, keep a bucket nearby. Don't procrastinate. Please. You will find out that, after college, procrastinating is not an option (unless you're doing laundry) - you're on your own kiddo. Take that class you're too scared to take because it's absolutely out of your comfort zone. It will be one of the best classes you ever have. Don't think you're smarter than the bouncers at bars - you're not. They know you're not 6' and blonde, and, yes, they can still see the Xs on your hands. You'll have plenty of opportunity to actually be 21, so don't rush it. Don't worry about finding a boyfriend. College isn't about finding someone, it's about finding yourself. And, the odds are, if you can pull that off, then you'll meet someone great when you least expect it. Don't get mad when your friends try to drag you out in the middle of the week - you'll be amazed by how many Tuesdays and Wednesdays you'll remember years from now. And, finally, don't be anyone but yourself. College isn't high school. You're a little fish in a much bigger pond, so be different, and, hell, be a little crazy, but be yourself, and the friends you come out with four years later will be ones you'll have with you for life.

Good luck, and God bless.

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