I moved my younger sister into her dorm at Eastern for the first time last Friday. Her move-in seemed a lot easier to me because I already knew what to expect moving her in and how the procedure went.
I was able to help her set up a meal plan, order her books the easiest and cheapest way and show her around campus.
It sucks that I wasn’t able to transition as easily. It took me and my family about an hour to unload my car and move it from the unloading area when I first moved in, even though we were only allotted 30 minutes. It took us maybe five minutes to get her car unloaded, because we knew what we were doing, and she lives on the 18th floor and I only lived on the eighth. Younger siblings often get off easier.
All of the valuable information I had to discover myself, she gets handed down to her for free. For example, the best places to study in the library or when and where is the best time and place to find a parking spot and how to avoid parking tickets.
The downside to this younger sibling phenomenon for them is that they lose part of the experience of moving in and the adventure of figuring things out for themselves. I think figuring things out for yourself is important; that’s how you learn best. But what kind of sister would I be to not help at all and watch as she orders overpriced books and gets a ridiculous meal plan? Giving help to younger siblings sometimes just comes naturally.
It probably makes younger siblings feel more comfortable knowing if they have a question about anything, their older siblings are only a phone call or a couple buildings away. For the older siblings, it may feel like you are doing the work of two people while trying to help your sibling and yourself. It’s hard to remember for yourself that you need to sign up for a parking pass by a certain time and who to contact if you are having issues connecting your computer to the campus’ internet, let alone remembering for your sister too.
What gets really tricky is organizing my over packed schedule and helping her organize hers and making time to show her how to run the errands she needs to run on campus while still getting mine done.
It’s weird having my sister on campus. For two years, I could walk around campus like it’s a secret world while my family is back at home. I love my family and miss them when I’m at school, but here this is my home and my chance to use my independence. Now it’s weird to think she is living in her own secret world just across campus.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure the first time I see her on campus randomly or in the cafeteria, I will do a double take. I’m just so used to seeing a lot of random people every day on my way to class without even thinking about seeing one of my family members.
Everyone keeps asking me, “So are you and your sister rooming together?”
What kind of question is that? We have lived together at home since we were born; why would we want to come to college and do that?
One of the most important things we do in college is make new friends, and neither of us is going to be able to do that if we live together and don’t break out of our comfort zones.
Maybe it would work for some siblings living on campus, but me and my sister can be pretty opposite. I think we are better off growing separately in the same direction. It will benefit both of our independence.
While I will help her out with all of the behind the scenes tips to Eastern, the experiences and the places she takes her college experience is up to her. She will make her own experiences like I made mine.
I need to slowly hand over all the college responsibilities to her and let her learn to balance college life on her own. I can’t go to college for two people, and I know she has it in her to succeed. I’m proud of her, she came here without many high school friends, has a random roommate and is making an effort to grow.
I’m sure it will get easier as the year goes on. Until then, it’s cool being the person with all the answers. I feel like I’m on the inside.