When I think of how others describe me as an individual, I have a few assumptions as to what they would say. It’s probably something along the lines of writer, fraternity member and the best drunk dancer Joe’s has ever seen.
However, I know there is one thing for sure that everyone would say without a doubt: I am one of those Stewarts.
For my entire life there has been one thing that has always been at the top of my priority list and that is being a brother. In the span of 5 years my parents had four children and ever since the last one came along in 1995, we have been grouped together as one of two things: it’s either “The Stewart Kids” or “The Bs”.
Growing up, we were each other’s best friends and since then not much has changed. My older brother Braxton is still serious and keeps us all on the right track with his advice. My younger brother Brody is still as wild and crazy as he ever was (perhaps even more so now that he is in college). The youngest of the bunch and only girl Bentley is still one of the most caring and genuine people I know.
I feel indescribably lucky to have had the chance to grow up with these three as my siblings and even luckier to have had the chance to spend an entire year of college with them (insert joke about parent’s wallet being empty with four kids at UoI here).
Being in the same fraternity at the same time with both my brothers has been an incredible experience and seeing my sister join a wonderful sorority that fit her personality so perfectly was equally as great. It gave us all the opportunity to spend time together, whether it be dressed in ridiculous outfits at exchanges, tailgating football games or just front porch chauncing, which I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Some people have asked me if it was weird to be in college with all my siblings and the answer is always an easy no. We never planned to college together, never talked about joining Greek life or anything like that but by some random chance we all ended up here together and the experience is better than anything we could have planned.
If I had to pick one bad part about this experience, it would be that it has to end. With a few short weeks left, our college experience together is drawing to a close. Braxton will be graduating and moving to St. Louis for Teach for America, starting his adult life and leaving college behind.
While I still have one semester left, I’ll be spending the first summer away from my entire family. With almost 14 hours between my hometown and New York City where I’ be interning, I won’t be able to come home and visit or see my family in person. It’s going to be a huge adjustment for us all to start going our separate ways after this year. We have spent roughly 20 years together, never with more than an hour or two separating us.
I’m thrilled to have the chance to have this new experience and proud that my siblings are successful enough to have the opportunity to go do big things elsewhere too, even though this means we will no longer get to see each other every day. I know I will still have their support and they will have mine. Deep down, no matter where we all end up, I know that being “one of those Stewart kids” has been one of the most important and influential parts of my life.