When siblings move out, smiles are less frequent


Brooke Pedersen

Brooke Pedersen and Kayden Panse have different perspectives about their siblings leaving for college.

Your siblings are away at college, and you are sitting at home with your parents. This is the amazing life of the youngest kid. Or is it?


Day-to-day life is not as happy once siblings leave


Brooke Pedersen


   The youngest life is not the best life. I grew up with three older siblings who were constantly busy. We would have multiple sporting events throughout the week and on weekends. As each of my siblings left, my life got a little less busy and a lot more lonely. I was used to having siblings come into my room as they pleased or having fights over who got to shower first. When all my siblings left ,I felt completely alone. What I used to wish would go away, I realized I wanted to come back. I love spending time with others, so not having my siblings’ annoying company made it more difficult for me to adjust to my new lifestyle.

   Drew is my oldest brother. He left home in the fall of 2018 to the University of Michigan. Growing up, Drew was always the biggest protector. He always was a big help to my mom since all my siblings were very young. The day Drew left for college my whole family drove down to Ann Arbor to get him moved in. Even though I was in sixth grade and still had two other siblings at home, I was very upset when I gave Drew my last hug for a while. I cried on the way home because I knew my family and life wouldn’t feel the same. The first part of our family was out of the house and I knew this was only the beginning.

   The next sibling to go was Blake, who left home in the fall of 2020 to Calvin University. Unfortunately, his graduation year was the year of Covid-19, so I wasn’t able to drop him off at college and had to say my goodbyes from home. I was super upset to see Blake leave because although I had gone through the process before, it was hard to watch him leave. Once Blake left, there were no brothers in my house, which made my house feel much more empty and quiet. Family dinners were different because there was less talk about sports and only a table for four instead of six.

   The next and final sibling to leave was Grace, who left home in the fall of 2022. Grace is hands down my best friend. She is the person I talk to about everything. She is the closest person I have and being only two years apart has always kept us close. Dropping off Grace at college was by far my hardest goodbye. Although I love all my siblings the same, Grace and I are the closest so knowing I wouldn’t get to see her every day was hard. Now that she is gone, I sit in my room and drive to school alone each day.

   I get asked all the time, “Only kid at home right?” or “How do you like getting all the attention?” My answer is the same for each question. I hate it. I don’t like that if my parents aren’t home I have no one to talk to. I don’t like having to walk past three empty bedrooms every day. I don’t like that I have no one to ride to school with. I don’t like that my parents’ main focus is consistently on me. My siblings understand me more when I am complaining about my parents or am explaining something going on around the house. Although I can always text my siblings and they aren’t too far away, it is not the same as it used to be. My siblings are some of the people I am closest with and not getting to see them every day becomes depressing. I don’t understand how anyone would ever choose to love the life of the youngest because everyone leaves you.


My good life got better when my siblings left


Kayden Panse


   Seventeen years of my life I have had three siblings, and for the past year and a half I have had the house to myself which has been one of my favorite changes. Many times when siblings leave to start a new path for their futures, the first thought is everyone is going to miss them. I jumped up and down realizing that I would get the whole house to myself. One after the next my three siblings were out of the house. 

   In the fall of 2016, my brother Connor was the first to leave, heading twelve hours away to Temple University in Philadelphia. At home, Connor was the only boy besides my dad, so most of the time he was in his room doing his own thing anyway. To Connor, I was just his annoying little ten-year-old sister who would bother him for attention. When Connor left, there didn’t seem to be a drastic change, or at least to me, even though it was the first time our family wasn’t “complete.” After graduating from Temple, Connor went off to LA and is now pursuing his career in film and media. The many years apart from each other matured both of us and now we have a more enjoyable bond.

   Soon after Connor left, in the fall of 2018, my older sister Addison went to Hope College, which was basically in my backyard, so not too far away. Addi and I weren’t close in age but were very close at home. Addi was always the one I looked up to as a little girl in how she pursued things and her athletic ability. When Addi left, it seemed more heartbreaking although it didn’t upset me too much because she was closest to home and came home to visit many times. After graduating from Hope, Addi is now at Radford University in Virginia for Occupational Therapy grad school. The four years Addi and I have been apart, have made the times we get together even more special. 

   Soon after in 2020, Covid-19 hit and the whole family was back in the house just like we were in 2016. We had the same family dinners, the same hangouts, the same continual company of each other, and the arguments, occasionally. It had only seemed like a break away from each other.

   After those few months together, my other sister, Brecken left in the fall of 2021 to Butler University in Indiana; she is still in school there. Brecken and I were the closest in age and always around each other. I didn’t get to drop her off at college but when she left, the house was missing the fun and craziness I was always used to having around. Brecken was the sister I would consider a roommate. Always home and there whenever I needed her. After Brecken was gone, I was the last one standing. There is always the saying, “best for last” and not to be biased or anything, I think that’s true.

   However, after fifteen years of continual company from my siblings, being alone was different. Good difference, bad difference, at first I couldn’t tell. It wasn’t until my parents would ask me where we wanted to eat or what we wanted to do and it was all up to me. I have a lot of freedom and attention. Every room in the house is now mine. All the clothes left in my sisters’ closets, I get to wear whenever I want. I get to have friends over whenever I want and not conflict with my siblings. I am living the best dream.

   There are times throughout the year when it is a big bummer not to be able to have them around. It makes times even more special when we get to see each other. For the holidays and a few times in the summer, it is great to have our family get-togethers. The distance between us now has made us closer as siblings. We’ve matured and connected more now than we ever have before. My siblings mean the world to me. Although our lives look very different now being in completely different states, I couldn’t imagine not having older siblings to look up to. Not in many instances, but for my sake being the youngest has been one of the best changes in my life.