Dear precious baby Kylee,

I know you're freaking out about the future. I know that you think it's gloriously unfair that you're supposed to know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you're seventeen. I know that you think the only thing you should be worried about at seventeen is what you're doing on Friday night and whether or not so-and-so thinks you're cute; you're right. Enjoy being seventeen while you can, because twenty-three is rapidly approaching. Spoiler alert: things aren't any easier.

They are better, though. I know you're worried that you've peaked, or that you won't have a good college experience because you've had a pretty decent high school experience, but neither of those are true. College is going to be so good for you and to you. You're going to find your forever friends, fall in love, have more fun that you can even imagine right now, and finally feel like you've found where you fit in the world. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

Okay, so, the rest of high school. Say yes to everything. I know that sounds like horrible advice, but you won't regret it. Say yes to bonfires after football games; say yes to going on adventures in your beat-up old car at 1 AM; say yes to that boy you met last year when he finally asks you on a date. I know that you sometimes feel like it's impossible to live in the pressure-cooker that is Berryhill, but don't let that be an excuse to fade in the background. Live loudly; you won't be in Berryhill forever.

Applying to college is going to be rough, mainly because you are indecisive and change your mind about where you want to go every three days. I'm not going to ruin the surprise of where you end up, but know that it's where you need to be. Some stuff goes down your freshman year that will make you understand what I mean; I won't tell you what that is either, though, because it'll break your heart. 

When Melissa and Laurel invite you to go to Jamba, say yes. That'll be the start of the friendship that literally saves your life. They'll make college feel like home.

When a blonde boy starts chatting you up on the balcony of someone's apartment, stay there. You're going to love this boy so much you think it'll kill you; it won't, but he'll change the very molecules that make you. It doesn't last forever, but that's okay. Love him anyway. You both deserve it.

You are going to love college, okay? You'll have amazing memories and stories. You'll go to some crazy parties, make some really bad decisions, and grow into the person you're meant to be. You'll thrive. Sure, there will be bad times; your entire junior year is a fog of anxiety and depression and being overworked and doubting every decision you've ever made. Still, you'll look on it all with the rosy glow of nostalgia because it was truly the best years of your life. I'm getting secondhand excitement just looking back on all you're going to experience during those four years. 

I'm almost done, I promise--though you should probably get used to rambling, you're going to be doing a lot of it. You're going to be fine; I know the future seems like this big, scary void of confusion right now, but everything works out the way it's supposed to. Don't ever stop being the wide-eyed, kind, curious girl you are. You don't have to change just because you grow up. And loosen up a little; adulthood will come soon enough. Enjoy being seventeen as long as you can.

I can't wait for you to start the journey to almost-twenty-four.

Published by Kylee Jackson