You've got some adventures ahead of you and I want you to be prepared, so I am writing to you to give you some advice and encouragement as you make it through these next few years.

Be you.  You are different and that's ok.  Don't feel like you have to dress like everyone else, talk like everyone else, have the same hobbies as everyone else and plan the same future as everyone else.  You are you.  Own it.  Enjoy it.  There is no one else like you...the world needs you.

Live below your means.  If you can't afford new clothes, don't buy them.  If you can't afford to go to the movies, don't go.  Learn to have fun with what you can afford.  It's hard to do, but later, as you travel the world and enjoy your freedom, you'll thank me.  Remember that it's more important to make memories than collect stuff.

Work hard.  Your grades really do matter.  How you finish will have an effect on where you can go in the future.  So, treat college like your full time job.  Make good grades, keep your scholarships and do your best to graduate well.  Starting off your life on top of things, as an adult, will really help you with an easier transition.

Find a job that you love and don't be afraid to change jobs over and over until you find the right one.  Just because you decide to study something at 18, doesn't mean that you have to stick with it the rest of your life.  Be willing to try everything until you find what works for you.  Work hard and be patient for things to fall into place at the right time.

Acknowledge your mistakes.  Everyone makes them...the difference is whether you are willing to learn from them.  If you tried something and don't like it, leave it behind.  If you found something you love, stick with it.  If you hurt someone, apologize.  If you wish you hadn't gone down a certain road, turn around and go back.  Be kind to others and to yourself.  Have the courage to be honest and face hard things.

Don't play the "when" game.  "When I'm _______ , I'll be happy."  "When I have ________ , I'll be content." "When I'm __________ I'll do _________. " When.  When.  When.  Don't do that to yourself.  Be here.  Be now.  Be happy with what you have.  Be happy with where you are.

Wait for the right person.  You never know when you will meet Mr. Right, so why worry about it?  Work on your other relationships.  Be a good daughter, a good sister and a good friend.  Just when you least expect it, God will introduce you to The One.

Enjoy college.  Yes, you are studying hard and working hard, but the years will pass quickly and only be a distant memory.  Some of your hardest years and biggest adventures are right around the corner.  So, be present.  Be here.  Now.  Don't multi-task all of the time.  Focus on one thing at a time, enjoying it and doing your best in each thing.

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