You have finally done it. After years of late nights, early mornings, take-out dinners and countless bottles of wine, you have finally received the degree you so greatly deserve. Many nights you did not think you could possibly graduate and many weekends you came home thinking that the four years ahead of you might be your end. However, you have done what many cannot say, you have graduated and have done it so gracefully.
Words cannot begin to express the pride I have in you for all that you have done. You have shown me time and time again what it means to be a good student, a good sister and, above all, a good person. There were many situations throughout your college career that taught me how I should look at life. On days in which you could have given up, you kept going, and at times you could have stayed in a bad situation, but you chose to walk away. You have taught me endless lessons on not just college itself, but on life.
You have taught me how to live in the moment. Thank you for the days when you knew from experience to keep pushing and to not give up. You knew that no matter what, life goes on, people get older and things get better. You taught me how to accept who I am. Thank you for always being my biggest fan, strongest proponent and my sturdiest of rocks. You never let me fall, even when you felt like doing so yourself. You have taught me to take time for what is most important. Thank you for missing your events to watch me play lacrosse, for seeing me off to every school dance, for remembering where you came from and making me equally as proud of it. You value life’s little things, and always know how to appreciate what is closest to the heart.
From a young age you have set the standard for how to act as a child, young woman, college student and now a graduate. As you continue to blossom into the amazing woman you already are, and as you pave the path for me to follow in three short years, I hope you are able to see just how many people love you and just how proud we all are of you. Despite the setbacks, despite the mean girls and stupid boys, you have walked with beauty and grace down the path of life. You are onto your next journey now, and even though it looks unfamiliar and unsure, I know more than anyone that you will conquer it just like all the other things you have in your life thus far.
So as you graduate and accept your diploma, as you begin your career in the real world, as you become a “grown” woman, do not forget these things: to be carefree when others are uptight; to have silly when others are stern; to love when others hate; and to be yourself when others conform. For 19 years, you have been the greatest inspiration for me as an older sister and each step you take drives me to follow in the path of success. Thank you for talking for me when I was little, for sleepovers in your room, for getting me ready and teaching me how to do my makeup. Thank you for making sense of my insanity and for putting up with my stubbornness. I pray that wherever you end up, wherever life takes you, you continue to be the smart, fun-loving, compassionate, driven and beautiful woman you are today. I cannot wait for our next adventure in this stage of your life. I love you more than words can ever describe.