Reality of a sibling leaving for college

Anna Anderson

About ten minutes before dropping Charlotte off at WMU.

Walking out from the brick dorm building, silent, tears falling, college students walking by, my parents asking me if I’m doing okay. All of my family knew this day would be hard for me; I thought I was losing my best friend. I was thinking to myself, “What will I do without my sweet sister at home?” It’s all I could think about the whole summer leading into my sister, Charlotte leaving for Western Michigan University. These past few years, I have been worried yet excited for the day she would leave and start her new journey. Yet now it has been a month with her an hour and a half away at Western Michigan University, and I feel as though we are near.  Although there is a fear of losing a relationship with a sibling when they leave college, the truth is the relationship becomes closer. 

   Jr. Lily Taylor has twin brothers who have moved to college. Growing up, she would fight with her brothers often about anything they could come up with. When they left for college, it was sad for her, but definitely became a more calm household. When they would come back from school, she noticed they had grown up, not on the outside but on the inside. They didn’t want to make arguments with her anymore. Taylor and her brothers became closer, and now a few years later they can relate to each other in life situations and make sure to keep in touch through the phone as often as they can. The family tradition of going to Arizona is now a great time for Lily and her brothers; they can enjoy each other’s company. 

   Jr. Chase Brondyke was feeling alone at home the day after dropping off his sister Callie Brondyke at college in Indiana. They grew up best friends, constantly teasing each other and making jokes about each other, the typical sibling relationship. Chase was worried that his relationship with his sister would change for the worse; that is not the case though. They have maintained this relationship; while Callie is out living her new life, she stays in contact with Chase through Facetime and texting each other life updates. Callie just being a quick call away is a lifesaver for Chase.    

   Jr. Stella Herman is one of four kids in her family. In 2021, Herman’s oldest sister, Kindy, moved to college, and just about a month ago, another sister moved into college. The transition for Herman a year ago was not difficult. Herman’s family had been going through a lot at the time of her oldest sister moving. Her sister had not been living with her throughout the summer, so when she moved to a school in another state, nothing felt different. Summer of 2022 was when it changed. Herman’s family was doing better and when Kindy came back, their relationship became stronger than ever. Now they keep in touch through a family group chat and seeing each other whenever they can, even though Herman rarely sees her oldest sister during the school year.

   These days it is so easy to stay in touch with anyone through texting, calling, social media, etc. In a sibling relationship, it is so hard to not talk to one another for a long period of time, so having a cell phone is definitely helpful. The key to staying close is seeing a brother or sister whenever there is a time, even if it is for one day out of a month, everything counts. 

   Everyone wants to have that sibling they call their best friend. When one sibling is in a different place than the other it takes work. So call them, text them, and plan a weekend together. Humans need family, so even when it seems impossible, it just takes work to keep up that sibling-to-sibling relationship. From birth to 16 years old, I have been living in the same house as Charlotte, my sister. We have gone through many stages of life and have many memories, but now we move on.  I have been through so much with my sister, but her moving to college has definitely been different than anything before. Yes, I miss her, but I make it my top priority to see her whenever I can and make sure I know how her new journey is beginning.