How to deal with a sibling going to college

by Sabrina Williams | Op-Ed Editor

One of the hardest thing for a kid to do is leave home for college. But something people sometimes overlook in this process is how hard it is on the younger siblings that their best friend is leaving them behind.  The one that sings songs with you in the bathroom, makes late night runs to the store with, hang out with when your friends don’t have time for you, gone from your home. The first morning is the worst. Waking up knowing they won’t ever be coming out of their room again. But one of those mornings, you’re going to have to accept that this is your life now.

My big sister is truly my best friend. So if you had a relationship with your sibling anywhere near as strong as I had with mine, seeing them go was one of the most painful things you had to do. I avoided her room for about one week, until I couldn’t resist anymore. I ultimately ended up crying. But the worst part had to be the strangeness of it all. I thought going in there would help me, but the emptiness and uninhabited neatness of it just made everything worse. But one thing it did help me realize is that nothing will ever be the same, which is the first step.

One of the worst things you can do is wish things went back to how they used to be. Initially, you feel immensely proud of your brother or sister. But to say you never had a small wish in the back of your mind that they didn’t go to college would be a lie. I’m fortunate enough that my sister is still in-state, but I know others can’t claim this. Dwelling on this too much would only lead to resentment and destructive wishful thinking that would get in the way of supporting your sibling on their journey into life. Always remember that going off into this strange world is harder on them than it is on you, so they’ll need you to be there for them now more than ever.

Your brother or sister can’t stay home forever. If they decide to go to college, they aren’t doing it to get away from you. They’re doing it to make you proud. They’re hoping to finally make the first step into a successful life that their parents can brag about to their co-workers in a couple of months. Ultimately, it’s all just a part of life, and just like hard and good times and heartbreak, you can and have to get through it. Never forget that in a couple of years, it’ll be you walking across the stage. When I do, I’m going to have to leave my best friend behind. But having been through it, I’ve already come to accept that it’s a part of life. Now, instead of dwelling on being apart from my little sister, I’ve focused on making these last few years with her worth it. What you have to eventually realize is that no amount of years apart will ever erase or make less of all that time growing up and making memories together.

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