Sibling love or family feud?
What comes to mind when you think about college?
One of the most popular answers to this question among teenagers is that college provides an escape from the house in which they have grown up and, more importantly, from the people in it-parents and, in some cases, bossy older siblings or annoying younger ones.
Although college is largely about learning and preparing students for the real world, a major part of college is the freedom that it brings. What happens, then, when your brother or sister joins you at school? Is coming to a college that a brother or sister is already attending a good thing, or does it strip you of your newfound freedom?
Here at Washington University, there are many sibling overlaps. They come in all shapes and sizes. Twins, brothers, sisters and brother-sister pairs can be found all over campus. Wash. U., then, gives off the aura of a very family-friendly place.
Sisters Lisa and Katie Orthwein would not change their shared college experience. Junior Lisa and senior Katie have a very special relationship in that they are not only sisters but best friends as well.
“My sister took good care of me. I called her ‘Mom!’ She also shared her car with me, so that was cool since freshmen are not allowed to have cars,” Lisa said when asked about her first year of college.
When Lisa came to Wash. U., Katie made her freshman year much easier for her than it otherwise would have been.
Now Katie and Lisa see each other all the time. The sisters live together, take classes together and are in the same social and business fraternities. They have many mutual friends and often go out together.
“People confuse us for twins a lot [because we are around each other so much]. We have different personalities but complement each other really well,” Katie said.
Overall, Katie and Lisa’s sibling relationship represents an ideal of a peaceful and happy sister relationship.
“I love having my sister here-I can’t imagine college without her because she’s the best!” Lisa said.
Two brothers, freshman Alex Minot and junior Dan Minot, have a similar relationship to Lisa and Katie’s.
Dan feels that he made Alex’s freshman experience better in every sense, and Alex agrees with this statement. Dan made sure that Alex knew that “he always has someone trustworthy to go to in me if he needs help, someone that knows him well and has known him since childhood.”
However, Dan did mention that there was the issue of Alex having to “live in his shadow,” and thus told Alex that it is important to differentiate himself.
Dan and Alex also saw a lot of each other because they took a class together and they have some mutual friends. Dan encouraged Alex to get involved with activities on campus outside of his classes.
Dan, currently studying abroad, thinks that in general, he and Alex grew closer as a result of both being at Wash. U. Dan has done a great job guiding Alex, while letting him keep his independence.
“No one can deny the value of having someone older to look up to and to help guide you through the college experience. However, it’s also important to make sure to keep your distance, and let your younger sibling grow and experience college independently, without you looking over their shoulder all the time.” Dan said.
It appears that siblings in general enjoy attending Washington University in St. Louis together.
“It’s great having family close when you are so far from home,” said Alex.
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