I have always been the big sister. At age five, my first little sister, Vivian, was born. I have always tried to be a mentor to her and give her advice even when she doesn't always want it. 4 years ago, I was blessed with a second sister, Jeannie. With a 15 year age difference, my relationship with my youngest sister is very different. I am more of an aunt figure to her. However, I know her little eyes see all of my actions and her little ears hear everything I say. I know she looks up to me and views me as one of her main role models.

Even though there are perks to being the oldest, it has been an immense responsibility to be the first child. I know that I have a very important role as I set an example of the process of developing as a girl for my sisters.

Entering college, I no longer had my sisters with me every day. However, I gained 150 new sisters when I joined my sorority, Kappa Delta.

Sororities have their stereotypes and trust me, I believed them before college. What I never realized was that I was about to gain the largest support system I could ever imagine and a family away from home.

Starting a new life, in a new place, with new people is daunting. I didn't know anything about this city and didn't have much of any friends yet.

The first girl I met in Kappa Delta was Claire Sekus. She was a sophomore and I immediately looked up to her. We naturally connected from the start. We got along so well and I felt special knowing she wanted to be my friend.

Within a few months of spending time with her and growing closer to her, it was no surprise that she was the one who became my big.

This has been one of the most special connections I have made with a friend that is unlike any other. Claire became the big sister I never received.

Here are the reasons that having a big changed my college experience for the better:

An introduction to college life:

Whether it be finding the best restaurants, telling me which professors to take, or introducing me to new friends, Claire facilitated my transition to college life far more simple and fun.

Someone to look up to:

As I mentioned before, I have always had to be a mentor and never had an older girl figure to look up to. She might not know it, but watching her has allowed me to see the kind of person I want to become while I am transitioning into adulthood.

They are there for you unconditionally:

Like an actual sister, Claire has been there for me whenever I have needed it. For example, one time I went to the mail services and had 3 large, heavy packages that I couldn't possibly fit on my bike or carry back to my dorm myself. I called my big and within 5 minutes, she was there with her car, loading my packages and driving me home.

Warnings and Advice:

There are many dangers and bad environments one can get into in college. Claire's advice and warnings still help guide me to the safe streets, people, as well as influences I am surrounded by on a daily basis.

A friend for life:

One of the coolest things about and Big, Little relationship is that it doesn't end. Claire will always be my big. She will always be a person who will go on spontaneous road trips with me and I can count on being there when I need someone.

To conclude my sappy story...

For 19 years, I never experienced the feeling of having a big sister. It has been infinitely rewarding to be a big sister to my two little ones at home. However, meeting Claire gave me a relationship I never knew I would have.

College life is different. I have been blessed with that one of these differences is the fact that I gained a role model and best friend that I consider a real part of my family. We were sisters by chance, but big and little by choice. I truly believe God has provided me with someone who I chose and who also chose me. He provided me a person I can laugh with, dance with, and even cry with when needed. Claire is half of my soul and half of my heart. Without my big, I would most definitely fall apart.