Wednesday, August 26, 2015: My third day as a student at St. Lawrence University. Amidst the loud cheers of Orientation Leaders and the nervous chatter among new classmates, I clung to my first new First-Year Program (FYP) friend during the final round of Orientation icebreakers. While the first few days at St. Lawrence were certainly a whirlwind of activity, free from classes yet tied to my Orientation Leaders, the thought of breaking from scheduled activities and meals was both relieving and terrifying. My mind spewed out questions faster than Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!: Who would I walk to class with? How would I find that class? And I thought about all minutes of activity in between. Finding confidence in my latest back-to-school attire, I finally emerged from Lee Hall and turned towards the center of it all: The Student Center during the morning rush.
Tugging at my t-shirt and trudging through the doors, I found myself surrounded by unfamiliar everything. Contemplating returning to the solace that had become my freshman dorm, I saw in the corner of my eye a head of wavy, auburn hair and heard a familiar, raspy voice. “Carly!” the voice shrieked, almost too excitedly. “You GUYS, this is my sister! Carly, come say hi.” A wave of relief washed over my previously pallid face as I sheepishly stepped towards a table of juniors. Quickly brought into conversation, I felt the anxieties of a new school start to fade and was immediately thankful I didn’t let the title of “copycat” stop me from choosing the perfect school for me.
While I cannot say that my experience that first day of classes was the sole reason for my positive first semester- just two hours after this encounter, I was hung up on by said sister after I asked her for directions to Hepburn Hall - going to college at a place like SLU made my shared sibling experience all the more unique. When my parents call and ask if I have seen Maeve around campus, the answer is always yes, and almost always within the day. Living just five minutes (one and a half quads) away from each other this past semester, it wasn’t uncommon for my roommate to walk into our room to find my sister trying on clothes or eating out of our snack bin. More importantly, having a sibling at St. Lawrence means every sick day provides a willing helper to deliver NyQuil and ginger ale, every tough weekend a shoulder to cry on, and every break a passenger to belt out heinous music with on the rides home.
Greater than convenience, however, are the opportunities I became aware of through having a sibling at St. Lawrence, from summer internship programs to secret study spaces. I always have someone to answer my toughest questions - like whether or not I really need to get a flu shot this year, or if that cover letter actually needs to be proofread. While having a sibling at the same, small liberal arts school will sometimes create conflict - like when your sister borrows your ID card to buy one two many Pub smoothies, or sees you in the Student Center wearing the shirt you told her you definitely didn’t borrow - I am at a loss for words picturing my next year at St. Lawrence without her. In the meantime, I know that these last few months on campus with my older sister will solidify the dual bond between siblings and St. Lawrence, a connection that I know will not weaken on either front come her graduation in May.