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.

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

Popular Right Now

I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

8 Signs That You Grew Up With An Older Brother

If you have an older brother, I guarantee after reading this article you will end up copying and pasting this link to him!


If you ever wished you had a sister, join the club! Sometimes it would be nice to have a bigger wardrobe and more shoes to choose from. Read this article if you have an older brother and soon you will realize how much you learned from your older brother and how much you look up to him. I guarantee all of these signs will apply to you and not only make you appreciate the love and special bond between you and your brother but make you realize how awesome it is to be a little sister!

Lexi Garber

1. You were constantly dragged to your older brother's sports games

Whether it was baseball, football, soccer, or lacrosse, you were constantly dragged to all of your brother's tournaments, late night games, and practices. You constantly tried to find other siblings to play with but spent most of the time complaining to your parents that you wanted to go home. At this point, your parents just gave you five dollars to go find the snack stand to shut you up! Hey, don't worry little sister at least you got a good candy bar out of it and know that Eli Manning doesn't play for the Jets!

Lexi Garber

2. As you got older, you secretly conspired with your mom to see if he liked a girl

This is my all-time favorite sign! You and your mom would always sneak around and ask your brother what girls he was texting. Your mom would hire you as her own spy to check up on your big brother with just about everything in his life, but especially the girl he liked. When he found out you two were trying to pry information out of him, he would mostly be annoyed with you and the worst part of all, you still never know to this day who his crush was.

3. Your brother got his clothes laid out for him and you had to fend for yourself

People must always tell you how independent and down to earth you are because most of the time it was your older brother who was getting all of the babying and not you. It's bad enough that sixth-grade boys don't know how to match the color of their clothing and even worse that they need their mom to lay their clothes out for them in the morning before school. As a result, you were left dressing, feeding, and taking care of yourself. Don't worry little sister, at least you're ten times more independent and able to dress yourself. Get a good laugh at that floral Abercrombie skirt and cami tank top outfit you dressed yourself with in middle school!

4. You secretly crushed on all of his friends

You were probably ALWAYS knocking on your brother's door when his friends were over. That could have ended in two ways: 1) He told you that you were stupid and to get out or 2) him and his friends would put you in a headlock and decide that wrestling with you was hilarious. Either way, you always thought your brother's friends were adorable and would have done anything just to hang out with your brother and all of his friends.

Lexi Garber

5. You always told your best friends they were like a sister to you because you never had any

Unless you're a ton boy, you always envied your friends who had older sisters that they shared clothes, makeup, and accessories with. After all, it's not like my brother wanted to hear about all my juicy gossip and nonsense drama from middle school. You always relied on your close friends to give you the sensation of having a real sister. Now that I think about it, maybe I wouldn't have been so laid back and down to earth without always being around my brother because let's be honest, having sisters can be too much estrogen in one house!

6. You played Grand Theft Auto and Mario Cart

Whether it was Xbox, the PS4, or even the GameCube, your brother's room was always a video game man cave and he only ever let you in his room so he could beat you at Mario Cart or SuperSmash brothers. You only played video games when you were with your brother and enjoyed it because this was one of the many things you could bond over. At least you can add "video gamer" under the skills section in your resume!

7. You're a good secret keeper and listener

Your brother was always mischievous, whether he kept it a good secret or not, but somehow you always found out about it. However, being the good sis that you are, you never told on him to your parents and all of his secrets were safe with you. Maybe you could relate to me and your brother accidentally (well, this is debatable) threw a binder out the classroom glass window or hit a substitute teacher in the head with a kickball. Either way, your parents never found out about it because of the great little sister that you are!

Someecards User Card

8. You have a huge appetite

You always ate when your brother ate and probably even tried to out eat him, even though that always just ended in a stomach ache. Also, you guys would most likely conspire to sneak gushers and fruit rollups into the cart at the grocery store without your mom knowing. If your brother loves cooking, like mine, this big appetite can actually be useful! No matter what, you will always have a huge appetite and you can only thank one person for that: your big bro!


Overall, even though there were definitely some annoying things when growing up with an older brother, you would never trade him in for the world. You both grew up to become best friends and each other's confidant. And yes, it does take until you both get to college for him to actually want to spend time with you. Well, just wait until he brings his future wife home... you and your mom might want to start going to therapy ahead of time!!!

Lexi Garber

Lexi Garber

Related Content

Facebook Comments