Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sibling relationships shape character

Standing in front of Plattsburgh State human development and family relations lecturer Jacqueline Oertel ‘s Adolescence and Society, class, more than half of her students said they have siblings. This one class is only a tiny chunk in seeing how many students at PSUC have had the experience of growing up with or without a sibling.

Oertel’s class teaches how adolescents are socialized by their interactions with their familes, peers, school and community. One big interaction a student can have is with their siblings.

Allsun Ozyesil, mental health counselor at PSUC’s counseling center, said sibling relationships are a great thing to have.

“I believe sibling relationships are very important. It’s his or her first interaction with other people early on in life,” Ozyesil said. “If they are close to each other in age, it sets up groundwork for interactions with other people in the world.”

Ozyesil said that when she saw her older sister go off to college and do her own thing, she got the confidence that she can do that too.

“It made me feel like I can go to college too,” she said.

Going off to college or leaving home can have a huge effect on the sibling relationship.

“Its different for everybody,” Ozyesil said.

GlobalPost, a leading native digital news site with a primary focus on world news coverage, said in an article about the importance of sibling, “Siblings play a powerful role in child development. While siblings might compete for attention in the household, they can also become supportive friends and role models. Siblings who interact frequently influence the other’s social behaviors and personalities as they develop into adults.”

One student in Oertel’s class said going to PSUC was an easy choice because her sister would be here with her.

“It was easier knowing that she was around on campus,” senior HDFR major Johanceli Rojas said. “She walked me through it step by step and that made our bond grow tighter.”

J’andrea Barrow, a junior majoring in social work, said going to college made her relationship with her younger sister better.

“We’re six years apart, and we were always arguing before I went to college,” Barrow said. “Now she’s my best friend, and she tells me more things than she does with our mom.”

Being the youngest, middle or oldest sibling can bring a different effect to one person.

Charisse Abellard, junior HDFR major, said she stayed close to home because of her younger siblings.

“I didn’t want to miss a huge gap in my siblings growing up. It’s nice being there and being a role model to them,” she said.

Even if they don’t realize it, older siblings can become role model to their younger brother or sister.

Senior HDFR major Kelsey McNally said watching her two older siblings go off to college was harder than she thought it would be.

“My older brother and sister both played sports, which got me into sports. They are my role models. Having them leave was really hard; I miss them and it’s hard because they have their own lives now,” McNally said.

Being a middle child, Devona Paul, a senior HDFR major, said that seeing her older brother get old makes her feel old.

“Being in the middle makes me see how independent my younger sister has gotten, and it’s great,” Paul said.

Being an only child brings a new set of results when going off to college or leaving home for the first time. People seem to believe that only children have a harder time coming to college and living with someone. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Lindsay Ingenito, a senior majoring in HDFR, said coming to college was an easy change because of going to sleep away camp and getting used to of not being home.

Valeria Reyes, a senior majoring in psychology, said that coming from a place where she had everything for herself to sharing a space with a stranger was hard.

“Luckily the adjustment went easy because I had a great roommate. We’re really close – we are like sisters now,” Reyes said.
For Jetaime Whiting, it wasn’t that easy to adjust to college life.

“I came from boarding school, so I am used to living with someone, but coming to college became a whole big obstacle for me,” Whiting said.

Whiting, a senior majoring in HDFR, said that while boarding school has similar types of people, college being so diverse, was a big change. When coming to college, Whiting found that there aren’t as many rules like there are in boarding school. Even though it took some time, she became adjusted to the change.

“It took me a long time to adjust since I was so used to having the alone time,” Brianne Rogers, junior and HDFR major said.

Rogers said she and her suitemates are always together, so to balance time hanging out and being by herself, she closes her door to her room to get some alone time.

Email Samantha Stahl at

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