As my brother, Dennis, parts for college this coming August, I’ll acclimate to being an only child. Having already said goodbye to three of my four older siblings as they headed to college, I’ve gotten used to readjusting to life with one less person in the house, but being the only kid in the house is definitely going to be strange.
When an older sibling moves on to the next phase of their life, their younger sibling(s) are left with more parental attention at home. Especially in cases where there is only one child remaining at home, the feeling of being an only child for the first time comes with benefits and downfalls. According to usnews.com, “In some ways this will be terrific because, for the first time ever, he or she will not have to share attention. However, don’t be surprised if there is an adjustment period to this new normal, and even discomfort about being in the spotlight.”
Sophomore Brett Strauss is the youngest of three, and come next fall, will be the only sibling at home. “I don’t know if I’m going to like being an only child or not,” Brett Strauss said.
Obviously, the closer siblings are, the harder it will be for them to separate as one moves away to college. Brett Strauss is close with his older brother, senior Aaron Strauss, and knows his life is going to alter dramatically when he leaves for college. “It’s going to be weird only seeing Aaron for breaks,” Brett Strauss said.
It’s still difficult for siblings who aren’t as close to adjust to their lives after one goes to college. Sophomore Connor Koch isn’t too torn up about his brother, senior Garrett Koch leaving next fall, but he knows it’s going to be an impactful change. “I’m kind of excited for Garrett to leave for college, but it’s going to be weird not having him around all the time,” Connor Koch said.
This past year a lot of focus has been put on the stresses and excitement of college applications, essays, campus visits, and acceptance letters, and although my parents still made ample time for me, I’ve been far from the spotlight. The transition of a child to college is stressful for parents, and as they prepare to parent from a distance, it’s often overlooked how impactful the situation is for younger siblings. According the The Washington Post, “so much energy goes into ensuring that freshmen smoothly transition to college life and that moms and dads can cope with the separation. Meanwhile, younger brothers and sisters are often forgotten.”
This experience is different for everyone, and whether or not a younger sibling will really miss their older sibling when they leave for school, they still need time to get used to adjust. According to usnews.com, “the most important part of helping children manage this big change is to give them room to work through their feelings and then adjust to the new normal.”