The Hardest Part Of Leaving For College Is Leaving Your Little Siblings

The Hardest Part Of Leaving For College Is Leaving Your Little Siblings

The obligation we have to our siblings is something we all need to remember, even when we're thousands of miles apart.
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With Thanksgiving break just recently coming to a close and winter break just around the corner, we’re facing a large amount of inevitable family time. For me, that means going home to my two younger sisters and trying to catch up on lots of missed time. It’s not until then I realize the hardest part of going away to college is leaving my younger siblings.

As the oldest of three girls, I’ve always been the first to do everything. Without an older sibling to show me the ropes, I paved a pathway constructed by my own perceptions of what I was supposed to do. There was no one there when I was going through the rough patch of trying to drag myself through the social nightmare that is your teens.

I dealt with f*ckboys, the catty girls, and the ever-changing dynamic of any teenage friend group. Each step of the way I would turn to my younger sisters and tell them to choose their friends wisely, to not take shit from boys, and to always rise above. It was easier said than done. I was an imperfect model: making many mistakes while trying to learn from them simultaneously.

Before I left for college I was always present for whatever life threw their way. In high school, being able to whisk my sister away from mean girls or comfort her in her time of need always made feel like I was doing my job.

But, it’s a lot more difficult to save your little sister, the one person you feel as though you must protect at all costs, when you’re approximately 1027.9 miles away. She calls you crying at 10 pm while you’re studying for your Anthro midterm. Your mom calls you the morning after a frat party only to tell you your sister’s friends are calling her ugly, or rude, or stupid, and the list goes on.

Regardless of how close you are to your sibling, this feeling of helplessness will vex you. When I first left I’d always whip through my contacts to see who I could call up to offer valuable perspectives on my sisters’ dilemmas, only to realize that I truly was too far removed to help.

As time goes on, you gradually grow distant from them, and eventually, the people you share DNA with suddenly become strangers. This makes it even harder. You hear something second-hand and you can’t help but feel so overwhelmingly guilty for not being there. Why did she not tell me? How could I not have known? The guilty feeling settles over you for the rest of the day as you reach out to her only to get a few quick back and forth responses, followed by weeks of silence.

My first year at UCLA I was so wrapped up in my own issues I all but forgot I even had sisters. I had my life at school, then I would come home for a weekend, see my friends, and carry on as usual. Such heedlessness is one of my biggest regrets of my freshman year. Becoming so absorbed with my own issues, I disregarded the fact that I was still integral as an older sister and confidante.

It really all came to fruition this Thanksgiving break. I hadn’t been home for longer than a couple weeks in the past year. As I sat with my youngest sister on Thanksgiving night, I realized I barely knew her anymore. I don’t know her favorite movie, I don’t know what she does for fun, I haven’t even met her best friend.

As she listed the typical complaints of any middle schooler, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of guilt fall on me again. I felt as though I had failed as a big sister. I had failed as her big sister. Failure–my worst nightmare. This failure isn’t a simple one I can brush off either, it’s something I will strive to change.

Thus, the hardest part of leaving for college became leaving behind my little sisters. I miss them dearly every day, that’s an obvious one, but I never realized how great their absence would be felt, nor how deeply mine would be as well. The past year I haven’t felt like an older sister, a position I am so regretful for having abandoned. This next year, my goal is to become the older sister I once was, not only to relieve myself of the guilt I’ve felt since leaving but to remind my sisters they are always in my heart.

Cover Image Credit: Isabelle Roshko

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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An Open Letter To Older Brothers, With All The Things Your Younger Brothers Won't Admit

This is what everyone with older brothers won't admit, so I'll do it for us all.

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Older Brothers:

As we get older, we definitely begin to grasp at the importance of our relationship with each other. More specifically, the path of substantial growth that develops and unfolds as we get older bewilders us, yet we find ourselves elated with the direction that it is taking. Although we used to unconditionally hate each other, times change substantially the older we become.

We all truthfully appreciate the weight of the growth more than you do, and we'll explain why further in this letter alongside the stages of our relationship.

Ironically, it is very hysterical to think as far back as we can remember to when we were little kids. We definitely caused our parents to be overwhelmed with extraordinary stress, but it did not matter to us. The first stage of our relationship was as innocent and peaceful as could be, at least before the storm arrives later on. We truly appreciate engaging in nothing but fun with you. You were our first tour guide in the world, and your hobbies became ours. We could often be found disappearing into endeavors, on a life or death mission as we saw it.

Simply put, we were in it together, whatever it was.

Even with small and insignificant bickering every once in a while, it never amounted to anything terrible. All we cared about was exploding with our energy and breaking the ornery meter with you. Thank you for embracing this first stage of enjoyment with us. It seemed to pass by incredibly fast, especially with stage two of our relationship on the horizon.

Stage two was a huge love-hate time. It was also by far the most growthful and helpful time for us, even though it certainly did not seem that way. As we entered into our pre-teens and then into middle school, all we cared about was undermining you. For some reason that we really do not know how to explain, we attempted to find an edge.

Stage two of our relationship was filled with fighting that usually ended in us losing. This specifically helped us to learn how to deal with crap. You also had all your high school friends more or less beat us up. You also always expected us to be at our best. As you progressed through high school, we were beginning to learn it all. This is where the love of love-hate came into play. Although we also never explicitly understood or acknowledged it, you inspired us. Being older, you had already experienced a lot and helped us through the worst.

Stage two was definitely a rollercoaster of love-hate (more hate in our minds), but we later learned you were dope.

In the final stage of growth in our relationship, we learned that we had and have a built-in forever best friend relationship. In our late high school years, college, and beyond, we finally realized the impact you had on us. You are honestly probably happier than us that we finally grew up, but we never admit we were and are the perfect duo, two peas in a pod. We grew up together and experienced a lot. So here's to us, even though we will always be better than you.

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