I wrote a blog post a while ago about leaving for university and leaving your family behind. It’s recently come to my attention that some of you need to be understood from the other side of the situation: having to watch your older siblings leaving for university.

As an oldest child, this has never really been a concern for me. It’s always been assumed that I’d leave the house first, so I haven’t really given any thought to how my siblings would handle it. Upon some reflection, though, it can’t be easy.

Older siblings are guides. If they mess up and end up okay, you’re reassured that you can mess up and be okay. We’re the ‘test subjects’: whatever we do, you learn from and decide what you want to do.

Older siblings are second parents. When you’re in a mess you can’t talk to your parents about, siblings are there to help out. Even if they’re on the other side of the world, they’re still there. It would be helpful to form new relationships with other people who can love and support you, but nobody is expecting you to replace your sibling.

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As an older sibling, I can tel you that leaving behind your younger siblings is painful as well. My brother and sister are my friends, and not being able to laugh with them every day is a huge adjustment.

Dealing with the separation is much easier now that social media is so prevalent. Pretty soon, a schedule will develop: times where you’re both available to speak, even if it’s just for a few minutes. That time may be short, but it’ll become extremely important to you both.

School years don’t last forever, and sooner or later, you will see your sibling again. And when that happens, it’ll feel like you were never apart.

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