The Experience of Missing a Sibling in College


One way to stay close with your sibling, even when far away, is sending a gift in the mail. I made a small “care package” for my sister, who is a freshman at HPU, to ring in the fall season.

My sister Courtney began the next chapter of her life this past August, which for her was venturing to North Carolina to attend High Point University. When we were kids, Courtney and I were always really close because we played numerous sports together, such as track, karate, soccer, gymnastics, and dance, which took up most of our evenings and weekends and that meant we were together practically all of the time. So when she left for college, 7 ½ hours away, it was really hard for me. The first few weeks at home with just my parents and I, it felt like part of me was missing. 

Before Courtney left, I thought a lot about how I would react. I think that I tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t be difficult, but I was proven wrong when we dropped her off because I finally realized that she was really going to be gone for eight months of the year.

I think the hardest thing once she was gone, oddly enough, was going to my sports events. For example, track meets. Courtney began running track as a sprinter when she was in eighth grade, which introduced me to the sport. She and I have always attended every track meet together, cheering each other on and helping each other through the events. Without her there, I realized that it is so important to enjoy every moment with your sibling. It’s ironic because it seems as if parents always tell their kids that they need to cherish time with their brother or sister. Sometimes life gets in the way and it becomes hard to take this advice until it’s too late. 

Clara Herr happens to be in the same situation: developing new routines as her sister, too, is in her freshman year. Clara is also a younger sister and is now the only child that is at home, who happens to be experiencing independence for the first time in eighteen years. Clara now understands what it feels like to miss her sibling. 

“I just miss always having someone there to talk to,” explains Clara, who is learning what life is like as an “only child”. Sofia is a freshman at The School of Art Institute of Chicago, which is nearly eight hours away.

While living under the same roof, Clara described her relationship with her sister as best friends, especially in the past couple of years. When Covid-19 struck in 2020, quarantine forced them to spend more time together, which then made it even harder when Clara’s sister left, she explained.

Clara says, “I figured that I would be very sad and have a hard time doing things without her. When she left, I think I was fine, though, because it was nice to have some space,” said Clara. 

Most  younger siblings say that they don’t know what to do when their sibling is no longer living under the same roof.  Sometimes  the bonds could strengthen because it’s much easier to realize how important someone is to you once they are no longer right by your side. Clara said this was the case for her and Sofia. She said, “In a way our bond was strengthened because we have always already been so close, and it’s like she’s never actually been away,” said Clara. 

Clara explained that when Sofia recently came back to her hometown after being in the city for a matter of weeks, she woke up early in the morning, even after an incredibly late return home, just to drive Clara to school like old times, which shows Clara just how much Sofia values their friendship.

Despite the fact that Clara’s sister is in an entirely different state and hours away,  there are still plenty of options available for communication. Referring back to Courtney and I, who are 409 miles away, we both use Facetime, iMessage, and believe it or not, sometimes the mail to communicate. There are few things in the world that can stop two sisters from being “together”.