To my sister on your first day as a Gamecock

Dear Stephanie,

I can't believe that you officially become a Gamecock today! I'm so proud of you and all of your accomplishments! This is such an exciting time in your life and I'm glad I get to share it with you.

As you start this next chapter in your life, I want you to always stay true to yourself and to your Savior who has blessed you tremendously. This is such a bittersweet time; I'm so excited for you and all that is to come, but I'm also sad that I won't have the chance to see you quite as much. But really, I'm so, so proud of you.

During these next fews years, you'll grow a lot - and that's exciting. I'm so thankful you are the person that you are and that I have a sister like you. 

If you'll let me, I'd like to give you a few (unsolicited) pieces of advice.

1. Stay true to you. You're going to meet a lot of people. Many of them will be like you while others will be extremely different. You'll be pulled different ways, hear a lot of opinions and asked to try different things. Always remember who you are and what you stand for. 

2. Stay organized and don't procrastinate. You've chosen a major that will help you make a huge difference when you graduate, but these next four years are going to be full of tests, papers and other assignments. Make sure you stay organized and don't procrastinate. Yeah, it's way more fun to put off classwork, but then you have that whole "oh no, I have so much to do by 8 am tomorrow" thing to deal with.

3. Develop strong new friendships and strengthen your current ones. You have so many friends, more than many people have in a lifetime. You're so well-loved and respected and there's a lot to be said for that. Don't forget your people back home (not that you will). Keep talking, stay connected and plan things to do. I wish I had done a better job keeping up with my childhood friends. Develop strong new friendships with the people you meet at school. Don't judge people by their outer appearances, but rather, by their hearts. Find girls you can share with and relate to and people that bring you up and make you want to be better. And stay away from the users - you know those people who only have time for you when they need something.

4. Keep your priorities straight and live a healthy lifestyle. This is the first time you've ever really been on your own. And no, you're not really on your own because mama and daddy are still taking care of you and you always have us, but it's the first time you've lived away from home and been responsible for everything. You're going to love it, but make sure you start off on the right foot in keeping your priorities straight and living a healthy life. Set aside some time everyday to spend with God and to exercise. Learn to cook even better than you already do. Don't let your laundry pile up (trust me, that's no fun!). Find a church fast and get plugged in. 

5. Take time for you. College is busy. You'll be surrounded by exciting new things and people and not to mention classes everyday. Make sure you take some time for you. I'm preaching to the choir here because I'm still not very good at this, but trust me, you need it. Take some time to explore things in your new city. Take some time to just veg out on the couch watching the Real Housewives. When you get in the real, real world, time like that just doesn't happen. So please, enjoy it.

6. Don't be in a rush. I've always been in a rush to the next thing (you know that). Don't be like me. Enjoy every moment. Life is way more fun when you slow down and savor every ounce of it.

7. Learn from my mistakes. Trust me, I've made a lot of them and you know it. Take my advice and learn from me what not to do in certain situations. You more than anyone know exactly what I'm talking about.

8. Remember how much you are loved. I'm so thankful to call you my sister. You're so loved by all of us - our parents, grandparents, Kevin, the boys and me. Remember we're always here.

And to end on a funny, less serious note, picture Kevin's 3 pieces of advice to you via Vine:

1. Go to class.

2. Do your homework.

3. Get to know your professors!

I love you!

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