A Bittersweet Story of Graduating Siblings

Underclassmen share goodbyes to their families

“What to do when your child goes to college” and “How to adjust to being an empty nester” are common headlines for helping parents cope with their children leaving home — but where are the articles for siblings on adjusting?

As seniors prepare to start their new lives, their younger siblings prepare to be the last child in the house.

Siblings have already begun to speculate on what the worst part of being the last child in the house will be.

“I’m definitely going to miss [Nick] because he’s my only sibling,” junior Katie O’Connor said of her older brother, Nick O’Connor. “The house is going to feel so empty without him, but I’m excited to see what he will accomplish in college. I’m not so excited to be doing all of the chores by myself.”

Sophomore Jon Spitz has similar concerns.

“I’m dreading how I won’t have him [Joe] for advice because he usually helps me with some stuff at school,” Spitz said. “The best part will be having the house to myself but the worst part will be having the house to myself.”

Siblings of recent graduates can confirm these worries and anticipations.

“The worst part is being lonely and you have no one to rant with or talk to,” sophomore MaryKate Behan said. “But the best part is discovering yourself as a person and getting more support from your parents than you thought you had.”

Junior Anna Cottrell can confirm Behan’s thoughts.

“It’s definitely really lonely,” Cottrell said. “Sometimes I have something really funny to tell them and it’s not the same if I have to call or text.”

While siblings of 2018 graduates are beginning to adapt to life without their siblings in the house, their classmates have already gone through the process.

“My older sister graduated in 2016, so I’ve been on my own for two years now,” senior Erin Hogge said. “It wasn’t that bad adapting to the only child life because I knew she would be home for breaks and I would get to see her because she’s only three hours away.”

For others it was harder to accept.

“It was really hard to adjust when my last sister left,” Cottrell said. “It’s a weird feeling when they’re gone and their presence isn’t there. Then when they come home I feel like we’re whole again.”

“It was hard to adapt to doing all the chores and coming home to no one to bond with,” Behan said.

As parents prepare for a child to leave home, siblings prepare for life without them right down the hall, whether that entails more chores, more attention, or more alone time. Siblings are aware and preparing for the big lifestyle change they will have to endure without their older brothers and sisters at their backs.

“I miss my sister while she’s away at school,” Hogge said. “But I know that she’s having a great time and it’s just a part of life. Pretty soon I’ll be at college too, even farther away from her but we’ll always remain close.”