I got an e-mail today that I'm expected to write a letter for my little sister's youth group graduation banquet by tonight. It's Saturday, and I have a huuuuuge paper plus an exam on Monday. I don't really know squat about my exam, and the paper has to be written in Italian. But, you know, whatever.
It was actually nice to sit for a while and think about exactly what I would want to tell my little sister before she goes off to college. Plus, I'm honored that she considers me one of the 3 "influential people" in her life.
This is what I wrote to her:
I’m so happy that the little caboose is finishing high school. You’re going to love college.
I never really got any instruction as to how this should be written… so I guess it’s time to bestow upon you my worldly wisdom (whether or not anyone asked for it):
1. Be responsible. Don’t let anyone convince you something is a good idea if you have even a hunch that it’s not.
2. Lock your doors. For some reason people haven’t figured out that stealing from dorms is, like, the worst idea ever.
3. If it’s in a red cup, you probably don’t want to drink it. Plus, single-use items are totally wasteful. Respect the earth, and reduce your impact on landfills.
4. Money comes and goes. Don’t let it worry you too much.
5. At the end of each semester, your teachers will assign grades somewhat arbitrarily, and then you’re done with that class forever. So treat your friendships well, because they’re the only real things you’ll take with you after you’ve gotten a silly little degree.
6. Strategically sit by someone cute, but –and I cannot stress this enough- never talk to them. They’re probably stupid, and it will ruin the fun of putting your make-up on before school.
7. “Foot baggers” are rarely as cool as they think they are.
8. You’re probably going to lose touch with people from high school. But that’s ok. We’re just growing up.
9. If you find yourself in a church that has an ATM, heal-toe it out of there. It’s a trap.
10. Campus ministry drama is the worst kind of drama… So, if you choose to become involved in one, show them how to keep it real. You're way above all the fuss.
11. Read for recreation sometimes.
12. I guarantee that someone in your building will have a poster of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” taped up on his or her wall. Call me when you find it. We’ll giggle. I guess that’s not really advice… more like a scavenger hunt.
13. Watch documentaries. Not only are they enlightening, but quoting them makes you sound smart in courtyard conversation.
14. When you're stuck, read a Psalm a few times over.
15. Pride is possibly the easiest, and most destructive of all sins. Live in humility to avoid humiliation. As Woven Hand says, "The world will bow/ the knees will be broken for those who don't know how." Now I'm not a doctor or a scholar... but I'd avoid that if I could.
And, most importantly,
16. Learn to love what God loves.
You are a precious treasure, and I love you very, very much. Congratulations. Now go, therefore, ad change the world.