Why I Decided To Go To College With My Sister

Why I Decided To Go To College With My Sister

I wouldn't have it any other way.
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It’s senior year. It’s the moment you’ve been dreading since you walked through the doors of high school. It's the moment you thought was years away, but snuck up on you faster than you expected.

You guessed it: it’s time to start applying to colleges.

This process is much more than sending in an application. Before all that, you have to first decide how far away you want to be from home, if you want to commute, what kind of things you plan on majoring in, and in most cases, the amount of money it will cost you to go.

Of course, I thought about all these things, but another important part of going away to school was deciding if I wanted to spend the next four years with my twin sister.

When I first began the process of trying to figure out which school was right for me, I wondered where my sister and I would end up after we graduated. Would we be together at the same school, or miles apart?

At the time it seemed a bit uncertain, but in the end, we both knew there was no way we would be able to survive the next four years without each other. A lot of people told my sister and I that we needed to expand our horizons and experience college by ourselves.

I’m sure they said this mainly because you don’t see me without her or her without me. I guess they had a point, considering we are together pretty much 24/7. Regardless, here’s what I say to all of that.

For starters, we had already been roommates for the first 18 years of our lives, so why not add on four more? We were already so used to living with each other, and the thought of getting a random roommate freaked me out a little.

Having her with me made it feel a little bit like home. Another benefit of having her as my roomie meant more clothes for me to wear. That is always a plus.

Although we were away from home, it was nice to have my sister there while I adjusted to my new life as a college student. When away at school, we all get those moments of homesickness. This is inevitable, no matter how close or far you are from home.

If I ever got overwhelmed or felt that I was swamped with work, she always reassured me that I’d be fine. It was always nice knowing we were going through the college struggle together.

Of course, there will come a time in our lives when we must separate from each other and go out into the world following our own paths. But until that moment, I plan on taking full advantage of the friendship I was given from birth, a friendship that is unlike any other and one that I will clench onto for my entire life.

My sister is my support system, cheerer-upper, and one of the only people in my life that will tell me the blatant truth whether I want to hear it or not. Why would I ever choose to give that up when I was able to have it so close to me for a few more years, before starting our careers and going in different directions?

Now, I’m not saying that once we graduate from college our relationship will never be the same. But once we get into the real world, I know it’s possible it can change.

There is no one on the planet who gets me like she does. I mean that’s obvious, right? She’s my identical twin for crying out loud. Of course, she is going to understand me better than anyone else.

But the relationship we have is one that would suffer greatly if we were too far apart. There is just no way I would be able to survive the crazy world of college without her experiencing it with me.

Cover Image Credit: Maggie Leenas

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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For The Younger Siblings At Home While I'm At College, Know This

I'm pretty damn lucky to be constantly annoyed by you.

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I know you won't believe it, but I actually do miss you.

After spending most of my life being your role model, your confidant, and your friend, it's difficult for me to accept that you are growing up without me there to see it. You're maturing physically, mentally, and emotionally. You're changing from a little, pudgy baby to a young adult way too quickly! It's odd to think that at one point I was taller than you, that I was the big sibling in charge at home, and that your biggest worries used to be finding the right stuffed animal to sleep with.

Now everything's changing. You've reached that age where everything kind of sucks, you're not sure of yourself, and you're trying to figure out where you fit in. I remember going through that stage myself and I'll be very honest, it was rough. I got through it, though! I know you will, too. You're so strong-willed and determined, I am certain that you will conquer every obstacle that gets in your way. This phase in your life is no exception.

Even though I'm far away, I want you to know that I always have you on my mind. I wonder if you ever figured out those math problems or if you have any new crushes. I see memes and videos that make me laugh too hard and I immediately think you'd like it. I worry about if you're making good choices and if you're putting in enough effort so you can have another accomplishment under your belt. I hope you know that I will always worry over you, and just because I'm away right now doesn't mean I stopped caring about you.

I want you to know that you are perfect the way you are. I'm not saying that because I have to, I'm saying it because I truly mean it. You are stunning and incredible, amazing inside and out! There are going to be times that you see others and wish you looked like them when you look in the mirror and believe you see flaw after flaw. There will be times when you wish you could change some aspect of your personality. When those moments come, give yourself a minute to take a deep breath and think of all the things you love about yourself, to think of all the things that you are proud of. You are worth so much more than you realize and you make me so incredibly proud every day- you aren't worth less than anyone else, and you better start believing it!

You may be a pain in my ass, but I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world. We may fight and disagree sometimes, but at the end of the day you are my go-to, my ride or die. I'm proud to say that I'm your older sibling, that I'm related to a star like you.

I love you with my whole heart!

(But don't let anyone know I said that, yuck!)

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