Younger children have complicated feelings when older siblings leave for college


Photo courtesy Beverlee Diamond

Freshman Bianca Diamond cries while saying goodbye to her older sister Tori as she leaves for college.

Growing up with older siblings, you can’t imagine what life would be like without the built-in friend down the hallway. Until suddenly, they leave for college and you’re left to be an only child. This life-changing experience happens to almost every younger sibling who has an older sibling pursuing a college education. 

Having an older sibling is an opportunity for a mentor, friend and role model who can  help in multiple aspects of your life. They can help you accomplish your goals by training with you for a sport or sharing their knowledge about schoolwork. They also are there for you when you need to talk about something you don’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone else. Siblings are often the people who relate to you the most, and especially with what happens within your family. Freshman Bianca Diamond said, “I tell my older sister things I would never tell anyone else. When she left for college I was devastated that I wasn’t going to be able to see my best friend every day anymore.”

Similarly, sophomore Lizzie Misovec, who is the youngest child of three, now has two brothers in college. Misovec said, “It was sad at first coming home from school and no one being there, but as time went on I honestly enjoyed having the house to myself.” 

Misovec went through the process of having two brothers in the house, then one, and then she was solo. “It’s easy that both my brothers attend Clemson so if I visit it’s only one trip,” Misovec said. 

Having the opportunity to be an “only child,” when not originally born that way, is only applicable to the youngest child and can be a loved or hated experience. Depending on what college an older sibling may attend, they could still be able to visit on breaks. If they live close enough, they have the opportunity to visit home over the weekend. Senior Natalie Matikyan said, “Since my brother goes to UMD, I can visit him whenever I want because it’s only a 30-minute drive.” 

Senior Ian Smith is a brother to a fraternal twin sister. Smith and his sister are planning on going to different colleges. Though neither have to deal with the experience of living alone after an older sibling leaves, they will still be separated. Smith said, “ I don’t know what it would be like if my sister and I weren’t twins and one of us were older. We have a strong connection and I’m still sad we’re going to separate though none of us will be home alone.” 

Regardless of how much one fights with their siblings, they are the people who they grew up with and know best. It’s important to cherish the time spent with siblings before time flies by and high school ends. Misovec said, “I wish I spent more time with my brothers when I had the chance. I didn’t realize how much they could help me and what I could learn from them.” 

In addition, a sibling going to college most likely means they won’t be living in their childhood home after college is over. From the perspective of a sibling who’s left for college, they too have experienced change from leaving their childhood home. My older brother Andy Ram is a sophomore at the University of Maryland. Ram said, “I miss having family meals, and hanging out with my parents and sister. It’s also unfortunate that I missed out on being able to come to my sister’s sports events more frequently.” 

 Cherish the time you have with your sibling because before you know it, they’ll be off to college.