Dear Jessica, A Letter To High School Graduates
First and foremost and I want to say congratulations. Graduating from high school is a pretty big thing and it isn't easy. You are now part of the 81% of students to graduate from high school. You are also part of the 67% of Latinos to graduate and part of the 11% to continue on to college (according to my Chicano Latino Families class I took during fall quarter). Honestly, it is all so exciting!
Life after high school won't be easy. It is during this time that you start evolving into a different person not because you want to but because you have to. You are going to face challenges you didn't encounter before. You are going to lose and make new friendships. You are going to laugh and cry. It's going to be beautiful and it's going to be scary.
I'm here to tell you that regardless of all that you are going to be okay. It may not feel like it always but it will be.
As you grow please remember to ask for help if you need it. It isn't easy but it is essential. Do this whether it is something physical, educational, psychological, or emotional. Ask for help in any sense and when you need it. Remember to never stop loving even when you think you can't. Never lose your sense of wonder or the child that's inside of you. It is these little bits of memories that will give you much joy. I know you're going to have new relationships but don't forgot about those you had before. As you grow remember that the people around you are also growing so please don't forget to say thank you. Also don't forget to find the beautiful in both the good and bad. Remember that every experience you have had and will have are opportunities to learn.
Don't be embarrassed of the things you love. Continue to listen to the boy bands that make you happy. It's one of the best things. Take your time and don't rush when finding your passions. The truth is you will feel a lot of pressure for different things as you grow. It's hard but you learn to adapt. It is also important to say no, please remember this. If you find that something is making you unhappy leave it but don't let this be an excuse for not trying (unless its drugs, don't do drugs). Remember that the things you love always prosper.
You may be in a rush to grow up at times. I know this first hand. I also know that it isn't always the right thing. Don't be scared to take your time. You have endless amounts of it. Also, don't forget to live. You might get caught up in your work and school and responsibilities but don't forget to discover and to do things that bring you happiness.
Jessica, the truth is that I am not afraid for you. I am not afraid because you are smart and beautiful. You continue to grow into this amazing individual that anyone would be glad to know. It is your happiness, curiosity, intelligence, and independence that will get you to places you never imagined. I am writing this with tear filled eyes because I am so proud of the woman you are becoming and because I cannot believe you are no longer the little 3 year old that accidentally hit me with a pillow that was full of needles because I wouldn't give you a blanket (#Ouch) (but I'm alive). With this in mind remember that it is okay to be selfish (unless it's in regards to a pillow full of needles). Remember that you are your priority and that no one loves you more than you.
Please know that no matter what I am here for you. I am here for the good and bad. I am here even if I'm miles away. I am here and I am excited for you. “You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” - Cheryl Strayed
Again, congratulations. Here's to a new chapter in your life. I love you.
Your big sister
PS. I should clarify that the pillow full of needles was my grandmas. She likes to knit.