When preparing to leave for school at the end of the summer – whether for the first time or the third – a lot of thought is given to leaving friends, homes, parents and the safety of a familiar place. After all that concentration, not a lot of energy is left to contemplate leaving siblings.
The relationships between college students and their brothers and sisters at home are bound to change with distance, and students are finding that time can be the most influential factor in realizing how close a brother or sister may be.
Students said that they got closer to their siblings once they came to college.
(My younger sister and I) are better friends, freshman Justin Lareau said. I call home to ask my parents about her and check up on her.
Over time students said they realized how much they missed their siblings while at college and now take advantage of the time they have together of school breaks and vacations.
I never used to hug my brother, but now I do, sophomore Arturo Carrillo said.
Sophomore Corrine Knudson transferred to GW from Regents College in London this fall to be closer to her sister.
A large part of the reason that I came back from London was so that I could be closer to my older sister, Knudson said. Our relationship as children was volatile to say the least. However, when she and then I left for college, we became the closest of friends.
It may take awhile for college students, especially freshmen, to even realize that the relationship has changed, Community Living and Learning Center Community Specialist Mignon Monroe said.
Most of the time, people start to realize that they miss their families and siblings during midterms, or other high-stress situations, she said.
Another high-stress situation that can cause students to miss their siblings is roommate conflict, Monroe said.
People assume that their living situations will be better, and tend to miss living with siblings if they aren’t getting along with their roommates, she said.
To ease the feeling of isolation at school, students can decorate a portion of their room with pictures of family members, keep in contact with their families, get involved socially at school and be careful not to rely on too much communication with home for the first few weeks of school, according to Beating the College Blues, by Paul A. Grayson and Philip W. Meilman.
Sibling relationships vary with each student, and going off to college does not guarantee that brothers or sisters will become a student’s new best friend, but distance does make some students realize how important a sibling relationship can be.