It wasn't all so long ago that I was where you are now. I couldn't wait to walk out of my high school (remember, I was a Teacher's kid!) and start my life as an adult. I had been in a private school the first 8 years or in public school with my dad for high school. I was ready to be in "the real world. After all, I was 18, I knew everything there was to know! If only I knew 14 years ago what I know now...
1. Your parents really do know what is best for you. I remember thinking my parents were too strict, being embarrassed that they waited up for me to come in until the day I left home, and that they seemed to want to know everything about what I was doing. Now that I'm 32 years and a parent, I get it. They weren't being overprotective, but they were just ensuring I lived up to my potential. Now that I am a college graduate and survived nursing school, I see that.
2. Chose your friends and significant others carefully. When I got to college I heard the saying "you meet your husband and bridesmaids in college". I have to say that is so true. I met the girls that I consider my best friends there. Be careful who you associate with. We don't want to see you guilty by association on the cover of busted magazine next Fall!
3. Have fun, but always remember there is a limit and you are in college for a reason...other than to have fun! (Wait, you did know that you are going to college for an education, right?) I will be the first to admit that I had fun in college, I went out with my friends, I joined a sorority, and I even met my husband at a party, but I kept a 3.5 GPA and attended class 99% of the time. There can be a good balance and while it may take you some time to find it, be careful you don't flunk out in the meantime!
4. Thou Shalt Respect Thyself. You may be away from home for the first time or you may be dorky like I was and still living at home, but never lose respect for yourself, your morals, and your goals. You will be surprised how fast you will find yourself questioning what is going on around you. When that happens, ask if you are respecting yourself.
5. There is not a guy or girl in this world worth compromising your goals for. I learned this one when the guy I just KNEW was my dream guy walked away. Within weeks God put Michael in my life, the hives I had for a year went away (suddenly I realized how controlling and manipulative he was), and my life seemed much less stressful. Enough said.
6.Sunscreen REALLY is your friend! The year I graduated way back in 1999 (yes, I know you were only 4!), the big song was Wear Sunscreen and it was a graduation speech put to music. I was a sun worshiper and I never felt tan enough...I am paying for that now. If you don't do anything I say, WEAR SUNSCREEN!
7. Remember God has plans for you. No matter how crappy things may seem sometimes and how you feel there may be no hope, remember He has a plan! Just keep Him the center of your life.
So, to summarize all of that, enjoy yourself, have fun, make good grades, and keep God in your life. Remember that decisions you make will effect you for the rest of your life, make them with a respect for yourself and for your parents. They really do just want what is best for you, not to make your life miserable...shocking, I know!
In closing, I may be old and yes, I did graduate when you were still in preschool, but I have been there and I survived. :-) Congratulations on all of your hard work up until this point! I can't wait to see how God works in each of your life!
May The Lord bless and keep you!