How College Changed My Relationship With My Sister

How College Changed My Relationship With My Sister

From polar opposites to the best of friends, all within a semester's time.

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My younger sister and I are close in age, with only eighteen months separating us. When we were little, we shared the usual children's toys for our generation, like Polly Pockets and Barbies, but as we approached our teen years, we started bickering more and more, over trivial things like the messiness of our room or whose turn it was to wash the dishes. Every movement or comment my sister made annoyed me for absolutely no reason, and vice versa, and our relationship suffered because of it.

Growing up, the divide between my sister and I was so prevalent, even distant family members we saw far too infrequently noted it, saying things like, 'You girls will value your relationship when you grow up, and you'll both realize how lucky you are to have each other." Back then, everything they said went in one ear and out the other, but more recently, those claims they made all those years ago have been weighing heavily on my mind—because they were right.

Like most college students, I had to deal with all of the difficult feelings of loneliness and homesickness when I moved out of the house and two hours away this past fall semester. Though the distance to my hometown is quite smaller than that of many of my friends, any distance will naturally be difficult when you've grown up in such a close-knit family like I have; I hadn't spent more than a week away from my family my entire life before I moved, and now I only see them once a month, if I'm lucky.

But, when I do get to go home, there is a drastic difference in the way my sister and I interact.

We spend quality time with one another, whether it be at the mall or Starbucks or somewhere in between, and we genuinely enjoy it. We share stories, about boys or friends or our own funny but stupid mishaps, and it feels more like spending time with a friend than a sister. I go to her soccer games and cheer her on, even though it slightly embarrasses her.

In the past four months, I've noticed that, though distance separates us physically, our bond has only grown—not only as siblings but as friends. She is someone I can tell anything to, someone who won't judge me for my mistakes, someone who has my best interest at heart and will always be honest with me, regardless whether or not what she has to say is what I want to hear, and even though she's younger, she often knows what's right for me more than I do.

Of course, we still have our differences, but we are able to appreciate the time we spend together in a greater way because we know it's often limited-- and I wouldn't want it any other way.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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A Thank You Letter To My Sister

We may not have gotten along growing up, but we love each other.

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By looking at us, no one would ever guess we are sisters. Your caramel colored hair and deep brown eyes find themselves on an athletic girl standing at 5'2 ( and a quarter!). Who would ever guess you were related to the pale, ginger, 5'7 girl in the grade above you?

The close proximity in our ages meant we knew a lot of the same people and had a couple of teachers in common. Some siblings love this and take it as a chance for a built-in-friend, but many don't. Especially when they are as different as us. You excelled on the softball team and showed a penchant for business and marketing. I was a musical theatre kid, creative writing nerd and we were in totally different circles.

As the younger sibling, I wonder if there was any pressure to be different solely based on the fact I was older to avoid comparison. I'm going to pretend that spurred you into being the bold, beautiful and unapologetic you that you are today so I can take partial credit for how amazing your personality is.

In highschool, we fought excessively. A lot of the skirmishes were probably my misguided efforts to build a relationship with you, even if I just ended up annoying you. But, even then, I knew our family would be wildly different without you. Sure, I probably wasn't too pressed if you missed a family car ride because it meant more legroom. But the car felt so empty without the music of laughter after you inevitably made the whole car crack up. From your goofy catchphrases to impromptu songs, you bring so much joy to our family.

You are coming into your own and I am so grateful for a front row seat, especially since we get along now that teenage angst is over with. Love is so much more than high school circles or stereotypes. I am so lucky to have you as a little sister. I learn from your spunk every day and miss your classic "Lexi, Lexi Lexi..." instead of saying hi. You have also taught me to look for the ways in which different personalities complement each other instead of focusing on what seperates them. You have an amazing internship lined up, wonderful and supportive friends, and are in a great academic program. I am so excited to see where you go- just don't forget to always come home.

Love,

Your Big Sister

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