|Cam and I after his Rose-Hulman Graduation|
There is always so much I want to say and so much advice I want to give you. But, I also know how smart you are and how confident you are and you will succeed at whatever you do. Still, this is my chance to impart all my big sister advice - sometimes being 12 years older has its advantages!
Be Kinder than Necessary
You are such a good person. You are kind and considerate to people always. I am proud of who you have become and who you are. As you start your new job, you will have abundant opportunities to meet new people, and you won't always know their stories. Be kind to everyone you meet. They are all fighting hard battles going through who knows what in life. When someone has a bad day, remember it's not about you. The best thing you can do is repay them with kindness and compassion.
You've gone through a lot o classes and learned a lot in the past four years. Now is the time to trust that schooling and your education. You know more than you even realize. You will be a huge success at whatever you do, and now is the time to trust all the hours of studying and work that have led to this moment.
You still have a lot to learn. Knowing that is the first step in succeeding in the workplace and with friends! Admitting you don't know the answers is hard, but it's good for you (and for the people around you).
We're not risk-takers by nature. Please, please take some risks. Try new foods, meet new people, say yes to invitations you might otherwise have said no to. Meet people. Be adventurous. I know - you're just like me. After a long day at work, going home and hanging out on the couch sounds like the perfect evening. And that's fine, but don't get so comfortable there you never do anything else!
Laugh A Lot
Life is serious...seriously funny. There is always time for laughter and joy. Find the things that make you happy and do them. A lot. Be the first person to laugh at yourself.
Find an organization or charity that you love and give back. Volunteer your time, talents and money to serve the hungry, the homeless, the endangered, the scared...whatever fulfills that passion in your heart. You'll never regret the hours or dollars you spend helping others, I can guarantee it.
Plan for the Future
Time goes fast. Too fast. Take time now to think about where you want to go and who you want to be. Then do what you need to do to get there. Don't wait until you think you have life figured out to do this. Don't wait until you meet the perfect girl - start making plans now!
Don't Compromise Yourself
You know who you are, what you are willing to do, and the lines you just won't cross. Don't compromise yourself to be popular or get ahead at work. Your integrity matters long after immediate success; remember to be who you are.
Call Your Mom
She loves you. And she's going to be your biggest supporter and your biggest advocate your entire life. Drop her a text, a phone call, an email, a message via carrier pigeon - just drop her a line. It will mean the world to her.