Melissa Holzberg: Colonials Weekend is for more than just parents

“Melissa Holzberg?” “Here.”

That was it. The teaching assistant called my name, I did my best to sound collegiate and adult with my meek response, and he moved right along to the next student.

I’ve heard my name called for attendance since I was 5 years old in Miss Daniels’ kindergarten class, but this time was different because it wasn’t immediately followed by, “You must be Sarah’s little sister.”

Everyone goes to college with different hopes and dreams. I came to GW with a bunch of dreams but just one expectation: being treated like an individual.

I’ve learned in my few short weeks here that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I sometimes find myself missing the safety blanket that living in my sister’s shadow often provided.

From my experience, being apart from a sibling can be just as, if not more, difficult than being apart from your parents. That’s why I’m happy this upcoming weekend is called Colonials Weekend, not parents’ weekend. The University realizes that there are so many other people a student might miss. It’s a weekend for all of your people, not just your parents, to come visit.

So make the phone call. Encourage your siblings or cousins, or even close friends, to jump in the car or on a plane and come to Colonials Weekend. My sister’s coming down this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, I came to GW in August and I’ve slowly started to make my own name. Knowing that I have the ability live independently for the first time is thrilling and reminds me of my own competence.

But it’s strange that for the first time in 18 years, I walk up to someone and introduce myself and they truly have no idea who I am. There are no reference points for me here. It may not feel odd to some, but I come from a tiny Long Island town with just 36,000 residents that often feels even smaller.

I never factored distance into the equation when I was choosing a college. I just ended up where I did and figured that as long as I was no longer in New York, I would be happy.

What I didn’t factor in was how scary being so far away from my sister would be. Being known as “Sarah’s little sister” was something that I may have complained about from time to time in high school. But now, I hold it as a badge of honor because it helped me become a young woman who was confident enough to go away to school.

I’ve only recently realized what an important part of my life my sister is, and I’m glad we can keep that relationship strong through events like Colonials Weekend.

My name is Melissa Holzberg. At GW, that means the freshman who thinks it’s a good idea to take 17 credits a semester while wanting to write for The Hatchet, go through sorority recruitment and join the Residence Hall Association. At this school, that means a young woman who knows she’s capable of whatever the future brings.

But I am all of these things thanks to my sister, who paved the way for me to become a student at my dream school. We all want to be individuals, but we have to remember who shaped us into the individuals we are and keep those connections strong.

Melissa Holzberg, a freshman majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

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