Siblings leaving for college; a perspective piece

Kyra Nagle, Arts and Culture Editor, Design Managing Editor

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Having a sibling who leaves for college is often very difficult. Whether you confide in them about everything or you only talk to each other at dinner time, having one less person in your house can be a big change.

My brother is two years older than me and recently left for college 3,000 miles away. It was something that my whole family had been dreading for years, so I tried to prepare myself. Over the past year, I had been asking friends what it is like when a sibling leaves. Among the different responses I received, one thing remained the same: It sucks.

I wondered what it would be like when my brother left, considering we are not very close. Having a sibling who is a very different person from me is hard because it’s difficult to find things to talk about that we are both interested in. I was under the impression that his absence would not be a big change. However, I have come to find that even if you are not close with your sibling, when they leave, they take a huge piece of energy from the house. He’s no longer rustling through papers or going to get food from the kitchen. He doesn’t barge into my room to annoy me or call me when he forgets his keys.

There is no one there to help me carry the groceries upstairs or run downstairs to get the laundry. There is no one to argue with about who gets to drive to visit the grandparents and the dinners that used to take three hours are now cut in half because he isn’t there to describe in real-time every detail of what happened to him that day.

Everything moves slower when they are not around. And there is a huge feeling of regret for not ever getting close to them. All the stupid fights about who broke the lamp, who ate whose food, or who should be driven to school first since we went to different high schools, feel like the most insignificant things in the world.

I assumed that since my brother and I are so different, we could never be friends. Now that he’s gone, I can’t help but think about all the things I wish I had talked to him about. Urban junior Sofia Marquez-Gomez ‘21 said, “you suddenly find yourself wanting to tell them everything that happened to you every day, even if you wouldn’t ever do that if they were living at home.”

An anonymous junior ‘21 said, “suddenly all of your parent’s attention is on you and no matter how much you wanted attention when you were younger, it feels like they are watching you like a hawk at all times.” High school is hard enough as it is, without the added pressure of all your parent’s attention.

The fact is, siblings are also the only people who know exactly what you’re going through, as they are the only ones who grow up in the same environment as you. He’s the only one who can hear the difference in my parent’s footsteps when they are upset or happy. And if you do something wrong, siblings are the only people you can point to and say they did something worse that day.

Yes, you can still call or text them, but it’s not the same. Right now, I want more than anything to just have him in the house again. Just his presence filled up the now three-quarters full house like I never would have believed.

Now when I talk to him, he tells me about the incredible time he’s having in college and I look back on his time at home and wish I had been closer to him.

From my personal experience, I would tell anyone who has a sibling whom they aren’t very close with, strengthening your relationship with them before they leave is a great idea. You may not realize how much you need them until they are gone.