Letters to my Sister

letters to my

Dear Little Sister!

WTF I would say I feel old that you are graduating but being that I am 8 years older than you this should come as no surprise to either of us. Lol I am so very proud of you and oh the places you will go and oh how I can’t wait to see all that you will do. I love you so very much and I want you to remember that when you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about what’s going on with you out there in the “real world” you always have me. Yes, I know your crazy and yes so am I but girl, I am here to save you from all of the mistakes I may have made! So lets just say I’m kind of like a crystal ball lol.

  1. Be prepared. Don’t worry girl I am going to get you prepped for all the stuff you may need for college you would be surprised how in handy an extra toothbrush can be or how a stapler can make you some ones new best friend lol. College can be hectic and especially for student athletes. So prepare yourself plan ahead. Set time aside to write in your planner, use your syllabus, and keep a snack in your bag lol
  2. Make new friends! Now I know your going to play basketball at Gonzaga and your going to have a circle of women and men around but, that is not all there is! What about the cute boy engineer or better yet the cool girl with tattoos in your Spanish class. I need you to branch out and make friends with people that are different from you. It is important to see the world from many views.
  3. If you have the chance, time, and money to study abroad, go on a trip with your friends, or go to a late night movie DO IT! The time you spend bonding with your friends and expanding your knowledge will be the times you remember. Take that trip to Vegas with the girls, go to your friend’s family’s houses for the weekend and see their hometown, go to a Spanish speaking country. These are all the things I hope for you. I want you to take advantage you will never regret any of these things.
  4. There are going to be a lot of cute boy, especially that 1st year lol. Its kind of like going to a candy story when it 1st opens or going into H&M when they just placed out the new summer clothing. Girl! I’m going to need you to not get tied down. When it’s right its right don’t force anything. Now I know you have a IDGAF attitude lol but, there will be a cute one and he will be nice and you’ll think its forever. Don’t fall for the 1st one or for that matter the second. Keep those options open!
  5. Party it up but, be responsible. I have had friends go to jail for punching a cop, get lost out on the fires escape, fall into the bushes, throw up and go back to the bar (puke and rally!!), throw up at a house party and destroy the bathroom, and cheat on their boyfriends and all of that was just the beginning. Eat some food. Its college there is booze so have some food and thank me later. Have a come together leave together attitude. My girls and I use to count off and we still do come with 7 leave with seven. Do your homework 1st! I can honestly say I was not going out if I had homework or a project. Get your homework done and then celebrate lol.
  6. Call Mom and Dad! Yes I know she is mean but, that is her way and yes I know Dad can be weird but that is his way lol. If you need something and you have used all your resources call them. Don’t call because you spent all your money at the bar… that’s when you call me lol. Call them when you have something you need like school supplies, or shampoo, or you feel like you want to come home. They love you and they got you through High School so they are not going to abandon you when you go to college.

College is an amazing time but remember I got your back! I hope you are lucky enough to meet a great group of friends that have your back and want to have fun and succeed with you! One last thing don’t get pregnant if I can make it through college and get my residents to make it through and graduate and have all my OSU girls make it there are no excuses for you. Yes I know I tell you this every day but girl, I can’t stress it enough I’m 27 and I still feel like I’m not ready lol. I love you so much and I know great things are on the horizon!!

Love Big Sister

Zykera,

(Not so) Many years ago your sister and I were preparing to take the same leap into the “real world” as you are now. Firstly, I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about how you have grown into such a beautiful and talented young woman and want to tell you that I am proud of you and look forward to see what great things you will accomplish in the future.

On this journey, many people will give you advice on how to become successful, how to behave as a woman, scholar, athlete, friend, sister, daughter, lover, or person in general. They will disagree with some of your decisions, they will root you on when times are good and some may go missing when times are bad. You will be faced with big decisions and challenges but also opportunities and joyous moments as well. I have learned a few things in the past 10 years that I would like to share with you.

  1.  Get to know yourself. Take some time to figure out what kind of person you want to be and not just what occupation you want to pursue. This will help you in decision making in the long run. If the opportunity presents itself where you are stuck between one thing and the other. Choose the one that will have an impact on the person you intend to be.
  2.  Be positive. About everything! Find the silver lining or the lesson in any shitty situation whether it be boy problems, classes that you cannot stand, professors that make no sense, anything. You are responsible for your own happiness and your happiness affects your willingness to get up and get things done. Never put that in the hands of someone else.
  3.  Timing. Timing is everything. Turn your papers in before the due dates, file paperwork before the cutoff date, schedule time for homework and schedule time for you to enjoy the day. Successful people measure their time by the hour and not by the days in the week. Get a planner or a board and schedule responsibilities first. In college there are a plethora of activities and it is easy to get distracted and therefor it is just as easy to become unfocused and find yourself at the library late at night cramming for a final or scrambling to BS your way through a paper.
  4.  Learn to love paperwork. No one told me being an adult would require soo much paperwork. You got taxes, W-4s, W-2s, financial aid forms, insurance forms, voting registry, class registration etc… There’s a lot of paperwork in the adult world and so I advise you to embrace it and learn to keep your most important documents neat and organized.
  5.  Network. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” this is very true. You never know when you might meet someone who has the authority to put in a good word for you at a job, or recommend you to the best professors or who can get you a discount at your favorite store. Networking is a great way to meet new people and become intentional about the people you want around you. You are the sum of the 5 people you willingly surround yourself with, on that note, people change and will start to grow into their own individuality and sometimes they will no longer be able to accompany you on your journey.
  6.  Boys are fun to look at but don’t let their mouths cause you to do anything that is compromising to your goals and ambitions. Trust your instincts with this gender and try your best to not get swept away with their chatter. Trust patterns and go for the one whose actions match their words the same way they match their shoes to their outfit.
  7.  Money. Set a savings goal. Save your money and when you make your goal, turn around and invest in to an IRA, a CD, or some other type of account that will accrue interest while it sits there. 10 years from now, if you are disciplined enough not to touch it, you will be glad you did.
  8.  Take notes. You will not remember and yes you should write things down. Post it notes are friends
  9. Find good study buddies. Outside of friends, find study buddies who are passionate in the classes you take, and do not fear the tutoring centering.
  10. Phone home. Remember to communicate with family they are and always will be the people to care for you the most.

Other miscellaneous things to remember I’ve learned:

Ramen is the food of champions and college kids. Get a good pillow and soft sheets. Heels make trekking to class difficult. You can never have too many pairs of socks or underwear. Pajamas are acceptable in the classroom. Brown nosing teachers never hurts the grade. ASK QUESTIONS if you feel you are misunderstanding something. Seek respect rather than attention. Take pictures. Get organized. Get a good alarm clock. Remember to set the alarm clock. Keep snacks on hand at all times. Hand sanitizer!!

Words to get to know and utilize in your life:

Integrity – Doing the right thing because it is right

Reciprocity – The text book definition is to exchange for mutual benefit. I say reciprocity to remind you to surround yourself with people who are willing to give as much as they take from you.

Understanding – Things will go awry and people will not always do as you hope.

Above all things remember this.

You do not need anyone else’s permission to be happy or to do the right thing.

I wish you well on your adventure and anticipate to continue to hear nothing but great things about you in the future. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you last but never forget that you could always contact me if need anything. Congratulations on your graduation doll!

 -Jazz

Dear Z,

So excited and proud of you for all of your accomplishments. College is definitely an experience. Just imagine high school but bigger and more people that you don’t know. It sounds a little scary, and it is at first, but as you get used to the changes, it gets easier. Here are some words of wisdom that were shared with me and some that I wish other people told me that I found out the hard way.

1)     You don’t have to go to class, they post all the lectures online and they don’t take attendance

-There’s pros and cons to this: No they don’t take attendance in most classes so you don’t HAVE to go… but unless you don’t feel well or something comes up that you really don’t want to miss, I would suggest you go to class. I would rather sit in  class for an hour and have someone go over stuff for me then to try to learn it all on my own. Plus you meet people in class that will help you get through it, because trust me, you are not the only one struggling.

2)     Don’t be shy! Meet new people, join groups, get involved. Don’t restrict your circle to certain people. You will benefit and learn a lot from the people you meet in college. Many relationships will only last for a quarter or two if you have the same classes but some of my closest friends now are the ones I met in college.

3)     Study groups are great IF you can study with other people but it isn’t for everyone. Everyone will continue to tell you the only way to pass is to form a study group but do what works best for you. Don’t get me wrong, study groups are helpful but some people learn better on their own.

4)     Study! Put time aside to study… on your own, or with some friends. My friends and I would all go to the library together and get a study room. We weren’t in the same classes but it was helpful to have people around you studying so that you don’t get too discouraged

5)     Don’t change your answer on exams!!! I still remind myself not to do it till this day. Definitely go over your answers but if you are unsure about it, stick to your gut

6)     Use ratemyprofessor.com to see what to expect with the class. Unless you don’t have any other choice, try to get a teacher with good ratings and reviews. People are pretty honest on there.

7)     Check the map of where your classes are. I am lazy so when making my schedule, I would look at the times and the location of the class some classrooms were far for no reason. And I made sure I had enough time to get from one class to the other. 10 mins isn’t always a whole lot of time to walk across campus, and you want to make sure you have time to eat.

8)     Don’t be intimidated by your professors or TA’s. Shit happens and sometimes things are just out of your control. Email them or go to office hours, a lot of them are more understanding that you think, but don’t give them any bs stories, they will see right through your shit.

9)     Pay attention in class… if you are going to waste the time to go, you mind as well learn while you are there. I always sat in the front of class so I wouldn’t be tempted to be on my phone, laptop or fall asleep. Personally, I learned more in class than reading all the material. They teach you what they want you to know, the books are for further reference or clarification.

10) HAVE FUN! This is the last chance before you have real adult priorities that may hinder your fun so take advantage of it! Balance school work, sports and having fun. Make time for yourself and your friends. Party but party smart, know what you are drinking and eating.

There are a million other things I’m sure other people will also include. College is fun but you are also there for a purpose, don’t look back on it and think I wasted 4 years of my life.

One last thing, if you can help it… don’t fall for the first guy you think is amazing. You will meet so many people from all over. Keep your options open Z if the right one comes along, you will know. Good luck and best of wishes on your new journey… we might have to come crash your parties some times and pretend like we are young again haha!

Tina Coolbaugh 

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