Students adjust to older siblings’ return from college

Campus closures result in changes to home environment


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Senior Allison Yancey, left, said she has had a make a few adjustments to her routine now that her sister, Kate, has returned earlier than expected from college.

Ashlynn Bakemeyer, Reporter

As the coronavirus causes college campuses to close across the United States, families have to accommodate older siblings coming home sooner than expected.

 So if you are the last kid at home and you thought you (and your parents) were going to have the place to yourself until the first week of May, you’ve had to make some major adjustments, especially considering that everybody is pretty much trapped at home for the duration.

 Washington University in St. Louis posted information on its website to provide suggestions for parents and younger siblings welcoming older students back from college at the end of the spring semester during a typical school year, but those guidelines apply now as well.

 According to the dean of freshman transition at the college, “the middle sibling has been used to being the eldest, and it may be more of a drag than a delight to have big sister home again.” It was also noted that younger siblings may need support from parents when the returning college student returns.

Senior Allie Yancy’s older sister Kate is back home from DePauw University in Greencastle. Allie said, “It’s definitely different. We’re so used to just having three people in the house, so it’s an adjustment for all of us.”

Freshman Bethie Lengerich said, “My sister Maggie ‘18 is home from college. It’s been kind of fun. We missed our late night movies and random drives to Wendy’s to get ice cream and chicken nuggets.”

While the adjustments are being made after the abrupt closure of college campuses, the younger siblings have found out that there are complications in the return of their siblings.

Allie said, “A huge challenge is (Kate’s) sleep schedule. She stays up until 4 to 5 a.m. every night. Now with eLearning I’m going to sleep at the usual time to wake up at 7:30 a.m., so it’s hard when she’s wide awake when I’m trying to sleep.”

Lengerich said, “The biggest challenge has really been sharing space again after so much time apart, finding the balance of what goes where and ‘hey that’s mine.’ (Maggie) also brought a cat home, which is a whole other story and challenge.”

 While there are difficulties in getting accustomed to having older siblings back before their expected return at the end of the college spring semester, Yancy said, “I’m glad that I can spend more time with (Kate) before I go to college, because when she leaves she’s going to go to grad school.”

 Lengerich said, “My sister is my best friend, and not being with your best friend for so long is hard. Having her home is like we are 6 years old again, Nerf gun battles and dancing around to music. Like every other sibling, we get on each other’s nerves, but we are sisters and that won’t change. We know through thick and thin that we have each other’s backs.”

 Through all of the confusion and chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Lengerich said, “It just feels right having (Maggie) home.”