This year will be round three of me at college, and I have loved every year for its unique experiences and changes. One thing I am especially thankful for every day is how it has changed my relationship with my brother, Eric.

Eric and I have always been friends, and we got along very well as kids. However, as we grew to a certain age, we had that time as most siblings do where we practically lived to get on each other’s nerves. He would actually laugh at me when I got mad at him because he knew he had succeeded and honestly, I did the same exact thing.

Of course, none of that would ever truly matter because he’s my family and I love him, but like I said, being away was good for us. The distance (a seven hour one at that) gave us the space we needed to grow as individuals and regroup when I would return for breaks. We started to grow up and realize that we weren’t enemies, nor were we supposed to be. We support each other, we are there for each other no matter what, we can have conversations about anything and we always have a good time.

Whenever I come home from school, I can look forward to a nice long catch-up conversation with my brother. Thanks to modern technology of course, we text, call and Snapchat from time to time so we can stay in touch, but there's nothing like coming home and having a nice face-to-face conversation with him.

There's not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how fast time flies. I remember the days of playing Power Rangers in the fabric pop-up houses in the basement or hearing him play with all of his action figures in his room (sound effects included, of course) as I played with my Barbie dolls in the next room. A couple years down the line, we took on the life of fighting over the computer to play Club Penguin, and on Friday nights we would hang out in the basement playing Gamecube and staying up until 11 p.m. just so we could watch Family Guy while our parents were sleeping (we definitely weren’t allowed to watch that). In the summer, we would play the weirdest games that we completely made up in the pool, and in the winter we would throw snow at each other and play video games of course.

It's nice to look back on my childhood and credit Eric with so many beautiful memories because he was there for them all. Now that we are adults, it's nice to remember all we have gone through as a family and continue to be there and know that we can always trust each theory with everything and anything. It’s sappy of me to say to say this, but I actually remember the day he came home from the hospital and when I held him for the first time. I was two years old, and even then I knew that I had just met my best friend.

With all of that being said, I can truly credit my strengthened friendship with Eric to being away at school. We continue to mature every day and know to appreciate the time we do have together as siblings and as friends.