1. Music in the car is to be played LOUD. Stop talking over the guitar solo. Look up the lyrics. If a good song isn’t over when you pull up to your driveway, drive around the block until it is. Also, Mary Jane’s Last Dance is the best rock song of all time.
2. Cereal and milk is the best late-night snack. Corn flakes with a sprinkle of sugar is always a good option.
3. There is a Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia quote to fit almost any occasion.
4. How to start my own detective club and keep a notebook of potential crimes and suspects. (Shoutout to my friends who went along with this. It was all because of my Dad’s childhood club notebooks that I discovered.)
5. Sugar goes in iced coffee but not in hot coffee.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the most accurate televised depiction of high school.
7. You can be passionate about a lot of things at once. Like science and religion, which are not mutually exclusive. Not even a little bit.
8. Call your mother regularly.
9. Always try to get to know everyone. Remember as many names and as many stories as you can. Still, keep a close group of friends who know you best, ask you the real questions, and hold you accountable.
10. How to make up songs about everyday activities to the tunes of Disney Classics and Christmas hymns. (I think I’m supposed to do this when I have little kids but I started early.)
11. Marry someone who isn’t afraid to challenge you and then write them love poems. Kiss them in front of your kids even if they pretend they don’t like it.
12. BACK UP YOUR DAMN COMPUTER. REGULARLY. JUST DO IT.
13. There are few things more humbling than the fact that you are one of six billion people on a tiny, insignificant planet but the God of the universe loves you more than you can even fathom.
14. Cheesecake is the best cake and crunchy peanut butter is absolutely the only option.
15. Surround yourself with books. It doesn’t so much matter what they are. Comic books count. Line the walls and fill the closets. Value stories. Collect your favorite quotations. Don’t be afraid to cry when your favorite character dies. Buy books you may never read, just in case. Read multiple books at once. Leave them stacked around the house and let the words play in your head as you go about your day. Let them teach you how to live and how to love.
Caroline (Higgins) Nyczak (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.