How to cope with your older siblings going to college

If you're a younger sibling, you probably remember the first time you realized that your older siblings were going to move away from home someday. We know it's scary to think about your personal chauffeur, reliable advice-giver and built-in BFF moving away for college, and it's even scarier to think about how that means you'll be left alone at home. Don't get us wrong, hanging out with your parents is great, but it just isn't the same as having someone close to your age around the house. If you're feeling stressed about your siblings leaving, don't fret, because those feelings of loneliness and anxiety are *completely* normal (and spoiler alert: they won't last forever).

After a little while, you'll realize that no matter how far away your first friend is, they'll always be there for you. Some siblings even grow closer once they no longer live together—(say goodbye to arguments over shower schedules and hello to catching up over coffee)! Until you're able to adjust to the change, though, there are many ways you can make the transition as painless as possible. Keep reading for seven of the best ways to cope with your siblings going to college.

Branch out 

Just because your sibling left home doesn't mean you should spend all of your time alone. Think about all the time you used to spend with your sibling—now you have all of that free time to spend making new friends. Have you been dying to befriend your lab partner or the girl on your soccer team? Now is your chance! If you play your cards right, you'll be so busy making new friends that you won't even think about all the time you spent missing your sibling. 

Consider adding a furry friend to the fam 

Okay, so this one might take a *little* bit of convincing. One sure-fire way to cure your loneliness is to add a new (furry) addition to the fam. Who wouldn't want to swap missing their sibling for playing with a new puppy? If your parents aren't crazy about taking on such a high-maintenance pet, talk to them about getting a pet that works for *your* family. Whether it be a dog, cat, guinea pig or frog, you'll have an instant new friend that'll always be there.

Try a new hobby or activity 

One easy way to distract yourself from missing your sibling is to try your hand at a new skill or hobby. Maybe you've been dying to take a pottery class, try out for the tennis team or pick up the piano. Whatever hobby you choose to pursue, make sure it's something you *really* enjoy.

Pro-tip: Put your new skills to the test by making your sib a special surprise for the next time they come home for a visit. Making your sibling a memory-filled scrapbook or writing them a heartfelt song is a fab way to remind them of how lucky they are to have you as a sibling.

Bring friends with you on family trips 

When the people who helped you survive fam vacays are no longer able to come, you might start missing your sibs even more. One way to cope with this is to ask your parents if you can bring a friend on vacation with you. Our advice? Make sure you choose someone who you *know* will be respectful to your fam and put up with all of their antics. Trust us, everyone will have more fun that way.

Find new ways to connect with your siblings

Although you may have to say goodbye to weekly movie nights and study sessions together, you can say hello to new traditions! Figure out what works for both of you and mark your calendars for time to connect in new ways. Maybe you'll have weekly Game Pigeon competitions or FaceTimes, or maybe you'll meet up for brunch every few weeks. Trust us, your sibs may seem like they're having the time of their lives in college, but trust us, they probably miss you as much as you miss them.

Hang photos of them in your room

Let's face it—there will be times when you just want to feel your sib's presence. One easy way to make this happen is to look back at old pictures and reminisce on all of your fave mems together. Hanging these pictures in your room can remind you of the many more fun times you will have together in the future, no matter where they live.

Look on the bright side 

Your feelings may be confusing after your siblings leave home (which is totally valid and normal, BTW). Although it's important to acknowledge how you're feeling when you miss your siblings, it's just as important to find the silver linings. These silver linings look different for everyone, but maybe it means becoming closer with younger siblings or cousins. Maybe it means appreciating that you don't have to wait for the bathroom, you get that babysitting gig they used to have or that you get to take on a new role in the family dynamic. No matter what, embrace the change and understand that your siblings love you just as much as they did when you lived under the same roof.

What's your fave sibling bonding activity? Let us know by tagging us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider image: @melissagisoni (photographed by @thecontentcollective; hair and makeup @glennnutely) | Image: @melissagisoni

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by Eva Mandelbaum | 8/6/2021