Student prepares for sister’s departure to college

Lexy Connolly

To say that my sister and I are close would be a drastic understatement. In 16 years of life, I have probably spent a grand total of a week without her. Due the comfort we have in each other’s company, living together is easy for us. We have a set of unspoken rules that make us compatible roommates — she keeps the door closed when I’m in the shower, I don’t bother her when I know she’s reading and when we’re in the same wavelength, the only acceptable music to play loudly is the Strokes.

A great deal of our closeness can be credited to the fact that we moved around a lot as kids. As we transitioned from state to state, packing up and setting off, leaving old friends and immersing ourselves into new groups of people, we relied on each other for consistency. When everything around us was changing, our companionship and care for each other remained the same. But now, as she heads off to college, making the next big change in her life, for the first time, I won’t be by her side.

My sister is going to the University of Texas, exactly 15.1 miles away from our house, and while I can’t begin to imagine how I would have coped had she decided to go to a college further away, just the fact that I won’t have her in the next room, 20 feet away, is terrifying. Of course, with technology these days, there’s always texting, and calling, and Snapchat and FaceTime, but there’s something about sitting on the floor of her bedroom, talking for hours and belting out the embarrassingly-well-known Nickelback lyrics that is irreplaceable.

The influence that she had on me while we were growing up was monumental — she introduced me to my favorite band, she pushed me to work hard in school and, most importantly, she encouraged me to take risks and to be myself. She is one of the most confident, outgoing, well-spoken people I know, and by spending as much time with her as I have, I like to think that some of those qualities have rubbed off on me.

I can’t deny that from time to time, I have gotten bitter and jealous when it came to my sister’s successes — everyone who meets her loves her and she’s a complete genius, setting expectations that are difficult for me to live up to. But, at the end of the day, I am nothing but extremely proud of her.

I talk about her all the time. It’s probably annoying how much I talk about my sister. I never did that thing where I complain to my friends about how annoying she is or get embarrassed when I see her in the hall. Instead, I constantly bragged about her accomplishments, especially as she kept getting her acceptance letters last spring. However, as she got those letters, the reality started to set in that she would be moving out in a matter of months.

As graduation approached, everyone was more focused on my mom’s grieving. She had been dreading the day that we left the nest since before we could say “college,” and was a complete wreck the weeks leading up to my sister’s last day of high school. I, on the other hand, am more discreet when it comes to my emotions. I am uncomfortable with the vulnerability that comes with expressing my feelings, so whenever my dad asked, “Lexy, you’ll be kinda sad when your sister leaves for college too, won’t you?” my reaction was always, “yeah, I guess,” when what I really wanted to say was, “yeah, I’ll be devastated.”

There is so much that I will miss that I took for granted while she was here. I’ll miss the way we used to tease my mom or rant about my dad. I’ll miss watching NBC Dateline together and making fun of the announcers’ obviously scripted murder puns. I’ll even miss the little arguments over who gets shotgun and where to go for dinner.

I wish I had appreciated moments like these more before they became so fleeting. Now, as she gets ready to leave home for good, I intend to spend as much time with my sister as she allows me to. I don’t know how to prepare myself for the loneliness that will ensue when she leaves for college, other than to cherish the moments that we have together now before they turn into memories.

While I wish we could forever remain the bright-eyed teens sprawled out on the bedroom carpet, gossiping about high school drama late into the night, I know that there are bigger and better things ahead for both of us. The selfish part of me wishes I could keep my sister at home with me for the remainder of my high school career, but I know that it’s time for her to spread her wings. And as she does so, the positive effect that she has on the lives of the people around her will only be magnified. I am so proud of all that she has accomplished in the last 18 years of her life, but it all has only been a stepping stone to what is to come, and while I will miss her every day, I can’t wait to see what that is.