Sorority girls always talk about being part of a sisterhood. For them, a sisterhood means having a group of girls that you feel really comfortable and happy with, almost like surrogate siblings. I, however, didn’t need to join a sorority to find that everlasting sisterhood. I found it with my own sister, who attends George Washington University with me.
When she started her own college application process, my parents wanted her to apply to GWU. No matter what happens, you will have each other, my parents said. We both felt a little annoyed. We wanted to forge our own paths in life. But nevertheless, she applied to GWU even though a big city campus didn’t seem appealing to her.
Things changed when she visited the college with me. She’d already formally visited for admissions tours and Parents Weekend, but this time she did so informally. My sister shadowed me for the day as I went to class. She sat beside me while my Shakespeare professor talked about Romeo and Juliet and my Comparative Politics professor talked about French politics. We sat at SEH for a couple hours so I could do my homework, ate healthy salads at Sweetgreen and explored different entrances to Kogan Plaza. She fell in love.
After getting accepted to GWU and a couple other schools, she faced the difficult task of picking one. To help ease her troubled mind, I brought her to campus again, so she could get a second look. Since she was considering studying political science, public policy, criminal justice or law, I took her to my criminal justice professor’s office hours.
Spoiler alert: She filed her deposit later that week and ended up taking his class in the fall. My insider experience opened doors that she couldn’t normally access as a prospective student. That asset really helped her decide.
Admittedly, I felt a little jealous that she got to live on campus during her freshman year. I had to commute during my freshman year. Even though I’m on campus now, it seemed a little unfair that she didn’t get to struggle with commuting like I did. But honestly, our relationship is stronger than it’d be if she commuted.
I see myself as my sister’s foundation. No matter what happens to her, no matter what she needs, I’m there for her. Having me on campus really helped her navigate her first semester. I advised her on great restaurants, like Beefsteak, and study spots, like the sixth floor of Gelman. I also advised how to quickly walk to Georgetown, how to prevent herself from feeling overwhelmed when assignments began to pile up and how to navigate the extremely stressful registration process.
If I had tips like that as a scared freshman, my first year of college wouldn’t have felt as overwhelming and frightening. I would’ve struggled, but knowing that I had a wiser older sister would’ve calmed down some of the burden of figuring out things completely on my own.
She and her friends, eager to know an upperclassman right from the beginning, knew that I’d always provide suggestions. My dorm, with its full-fledged kitchen, serves as my sister’s “home away from home,” especially when I’m cooking food that we normally eat at home. I’ll call her whenever I make a big batch of something. One day, I told her that I made homemade macaroni and cheese and she tearfully rushed over in excitement. She’d had a really bad day and this comfort food served as the perfect remedy. Another time, I made Indian food and 30 seconds after proudly texting a picture of it in the family group chat, I got a knock on the door from my sister. She finished the rest of the pot.
Her hall-mates see me as a surrogate mother in a way. “Aleena’s big sister” is always there with food or advice. Whenever I make banana bread, my sister always hoards half of it to her dorm and shares some of it with her roommates and hall-mates. So I’m also known as “Aleena’s big sister who bakes the delicious homemade banana bread.”
Even if we don’t talk for days at a time, my sister and I never feel as if we’re neglecting each other. We might randomly see each other on the street and quickly chat. But it never seems like we’re drifting apart. Whenever we’re together, either casually hanging out in each other’s dorm room or grabbing a bite to eat, it’s like we just saw each other 10 minutes ago. There’s a comforting feeling of home for both of us.
At first, when she decided to go to the same school, I had concerns. I thought there would be lots of pressure to find a balance on spending time together and working on schoolwork. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.