Moving out and leaving for college is an amazing milestone and accomplishment in life, which should be celebrated, but very few fully comprehend how drastically it can alter relationships. Siblings who have gone to college or have sent their sibling(s) to college are usually greatly impacted. They have to cope with the transition, learn how to keep in touch, and adjust to a weaker connection and the internal void it creates; in order to mitigate this problem, siblings need to dedicate time to each other to keep their relationships strong. I recently experienced this adjustment when my sister, Aly, left for Texas A&M two weeks ago.Order now
Siblings typically experience a weaker connection due to lack of proximity, and it can be difficult to find ways for them to reconnect. The distance requires an unfamiliar level of effort needed to maintain a bond. It was easier for me to feel connected to Aly when she lived across the hall because we shared daily experiences, and I could talk to her in passing about my frustrations, joys, or latest crush. We regularly shared car rides together and would scream the music so loud our voices would be gone the next day. It was a part of our regular routine that always created a sense of closeness between us. The new distance has created this wall and left me feeling abandoned, like an unwanted pair of old sneakers. I can no longer walk down the short hallway to see my best friend; instead, she is a hundred plus miles away experiencing a whole new life without me.
When connections lessen, it can sometimes leave people feeling empty inside. I personally feel this emptiness constantly now that I am the only child in the house. I do not have anyone to comfort me at three in the morning when our parents are yelling at the top of their lungs about money problems. Every night I feel deserted, with no one to talk to. March 23, 2019 will mark the third year since our brother’s death. My brother, Christian, was hit by a car in Houston, Texas when I was in the eighth grade. I remember waking up and getting ready for an Algebra quiz that I had that morning, when my Dad called the family into the living room and told us the news. The room went blank. All I could see was tear drops rapidly escaping from my mother’s eyes. I had never experienced this much pain in my whole entire life; the pain was unfathomable. It was similar to taking my first bite of scolding hot soup that would continuously sting on the tip of my tongue; it never seemed to fade away. Losing a sibling is honestly one of the hardest challenges to overcome in life, but now that Aly is in college, I feel like I am losing a sibling all over again. Aly is no longer there to turn to when I am crying on the drive to school. She was the one who understood my pain and carried me through those hard times, and now I felt alone.
Siblings have to adjust and learn to keep in touch. Keeping in touch in this generation may seem like it is super easy with all of the new upgraded technologies; however, keeping in touch is extremely hard with the different lifestyles siblings have. It has been two weeks since my sister left for college, and I have been able to call her maybe three times. When a brother/sister leaves for college, their schedules can be extremely different. I have class in the mornings while my sister has classes at nighttime. Calling my sister over the phone does not leave the same feeling as talking to her in person. That close connection feels distant and misplaced when I speak to Aly over the phone. Sometimes, it even makes me feel envious and out of place now that her roommate is taking my place as the person who lives across the hall. Aly and I are starting to learn to better our communication. Even though our phone interactions do not replace driving to Dairy Queen on Fort Hood Street at the dead of night, my heart still sees this as a step to adjusting to the distance.
In order to keep the relationship strong, siblings must adapt to the detachment. Being a couple hundred miles away does not necessarily mean you will never see your sibling again. My whole life, I have been set on the same routine of seeing my sister after my exhausting eight-hour school day and six-hour practice. I always saw my sister at the same time and talked to her around the same time. With this newly created distance, we both have to adapt to the new schedule. We are always dedicating our time to outside activities, school, and other relationships, loosing sight of what is really important which is our commitment to each other. If you are important to someone, that person will always devote some time for you, and that is what we had to learn and work on. Siblings must dedicate their time in ways they may not have before. In order to dedicate your time, you should think about leaving 5-10 minutes aside and calling your sibling, possibly even face-timing them. Another very important way siblings can dedicate their time, is by giving up a free weekend of theirs and driving to go see their sibling. Most students in college are able to drive and can go visit their family members on the weekends this is a perfect way to keep the connection strong.
This experience has made me stronger and has taught me how important it is to dedicate time not just to sports and school, but also to family and other close relationships because they are the ones who will be your shoulder to cry on. Powerful connections and shared experiences are what help carry us through life. Siblings separated by distance need to make it a priority to stay involved in each other’s lives in order to maintain a strong connection and relationship. The past few weeks without my sister have been tough, but I have learned that even a simple task like regularly dedicating time to each other can help fill that emptiness inside. I will forever set aside time for Aly. You do not get to choose your family, but you do get to choose what kind of relationship to have with them. Aly and I have made a choice to put in the effort to stay close friends, and I will stick by that choice until the end.