What I Want My Little Sister to Know As She Leaves For College

Dear Caroline,
Even though I’m about to be a junior at Baylor University, it feels like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to you, Elizabeth, Mom, and Dad when you dropped me off freshman year. You are so close to having the University of Texas be your new home. Since I am the oldest, all I knew about college was what Mom and Dad had told me. No offense to them, but it has been long since they were in college. I mean a long time (sorry, guys).

brother and sister asleep in car
Brother has grown-up advice for his little sister about college. (Julie Wiesen)


I want to share with you some of the things I have learned over my two years in college that I think will help you as you enter a new world. I wish I had been given a list of tips before I left, so maybe this will help.

College advice from a brother to his little sister


You will be full of many emotions the day you move into your dorm. You are excited to be at college and all of the new people you will meet, yet at the same time, you are about to say goodbye to your family. It’s a hard day; there’s no way around it.

While Mom and Dad are setting up your room, everything is hectic. You don’t have time to stop and think about it. But when they are nearly finished, you slowly realize that they will be leaving soon, and that’s when everything hits.

Two years ago…
You remember it being hard to say goodbye when you dropped me off, right? Well, it will be even harder when YOU say goodbye to them. But it doesn’t have to be hard for long.

The one thing I would tell you not to do is sit in your room and think about everything. Meet some people in your hall and do something fun, or anything, to keep your mind occupied. I remember a bunch of guys in my hall (whom now, two years later, I consider some of my closest friends), and I went and played basketball.

Go to class.

I know that this may sound like a pointless piece of advice, given the fact you had no choice about going to class in high school. But believe me; it becomes way more appealing not to go to class when you are tired or for whatever reason. I am not saying never to skip class. Just know that what is said in class will be on the test.

To reiterate this point, I have an example. On a Monday after a three-day weekend in one of my accounting classes, 25% of the class showed up. My professor gave each student who showed up that day bonus points on the upcoming test. Those points took my test grade from a B+ to an A. Had I not been there, I would not have gotten those points.

Be yourself and choose your friends wisely.

I am not kidding when I say you are about to meet people you will be friends with for the rest of your life. Since that’s the case, choose your friends wisely. If you can’t be around certain people you think you want to be friends with, you need to find new friends. Please listen to this part if you ignore everything else in this letter. Do not fall into this trap. Just be you.

Call home.

Especially Mom, since she’s probably the one most worried. Try to call home often because they want to hear how everything is going, and it is nice to talk to them. Nobody is going to make you keep up your relationship with your family. That is your responsibility. I would love to call Mom as I would walk to class in the mornings and see how things were going at home. FaceTime is also fantastic because you see your favorite pup, Scooter. Oh, and text Elizabeth to check on her. She won’t have you around to entertain her anymore.

Know what you believe and why you believe it.

This refers mainly to your faith (dig into your Bible for truth and check out 1 Peter 3:15). Your faith can grow or shrink in college. While many intelligent people will surround you, please don’t take everything they profess as absolute truth. For example, I had to write a paper where I had to defend one of my beliefs, and it was good for me because I had to put pen to paper on what I believed and why.

Freshman-year grades are very important.

Freshman year of college will most likely be your easiest year, academically speaking. That being said, make good grades your first year. Don’t dig yourself into a hole. Starting strong makes everything a whole lot easier.

Don’t start to study for a test the night before. This might have worked in high school, but it does not work in college. Trust me, I have tried this, and it ended poorly. Also, group study sessions are significant social events but not always the best study events.

Visit churches and find one that you like.

Once you find one, get plugged into a small group and try not to skip on the weekends. Even when you are tired, it is a great place to get poured into…especially after a long week of class.


I don’t mean to write down your feelings daily, yet you can do that if you like. I mean to make a continual list of things that you have learned and are continually learning. Write down items that are important to you. Once in a while, describe an “average” day in great detail. It is cool to look back and read that a couple of years later to see how far you have come.

Be spontaneous.

Some of your most incredible memories will come from doing spontaneous things with friends. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. College is a balance between friends, school, and everything in between.

I’ll admit that college takes some getting used to. If you hate it the first few days, don’t worry. Trust me; you will get the hang of it and love it. But keep in mind that it’s not going to be a cakewalk.

The level of responsibility on you has been kicked into high gear. You will be responsible for attending class on time, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, etc. Nobody will be there to hold your hand, but you can do it.

If you ever get overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath. Remember that you have a brother who is only an hour and a half away in Waco. You can always come to see me no matter what time of day, and you always have a place to stay. That being said… HOOK’EM HORNS!

Love, Jack

Jack Wiesen will be a Baylor University junior majoring in Accounting and Finance.

You Might Also Want to Read: 

College Drop-Off: How to Handle This Gut-Wrenching Milestone

To My Daughter As She Leaves: Remember These 12 Things

About Julie Wiesen

Julie-Wiesen-180x300.jpeg" alt="" width="180" height="300" />Julie Wiesen is a wife to a great guy who is her complete opposite. She is the mother to three teens, whom she not only loves, but likes a whole lot. She loves to nest, cook and write about real life. Adjusting to life with one less bird in the nest caused her to start a blog, Leaving the Light On.

Read more posts by Julie

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