Relatives at same school say they have someone to lean on

Some people might say going to college with a younger brother or sister would be a nightmare. Graduate students Rachelle Jean-Louis and Ariel Pearson beg to differ.

Jean-Louis, a mental health and counseling student from Delray Beach, attended school with her older sister. She said a sibling can help with financial issues as well as offer emotional advice.

“It’s all based on mutual respect,” Jean-Louis said. “If there is no respect, then you should definitely avoid living with each other. This experience should be more positive than negative.”

Pearson, a counseling student from Tampa, also said having a sibling on campus is beneficial to both students.

“With a sibling here you don’t get lonely,” said Pearson, an intern at the University Counseling Center. “Instead you have a support system that makes it easy to adjust.

“Having a sibling on campus is a sense of family support away from home. It’s always better to have someone around that knows the ropes already and can help you get situated,” Pearson continued.

Marcus Barrington, 21, a fourth-year business student from Orlando, said he’s here to help guide his younger sister.

“My mother was elated because she knew that my sister had someone to truly rely on,” Barrington said.

He and his sister have different sets of friends, Barrington said, but she joined the business fraternity that he is in.

“This may be her first encounter with issues of separation of identity because she will have to build a name for herself,” Barrington said.

Other siblings attend the same university because of family tradition. “Both of my parents attended FAMU,” said Shandra Sheppard, 22, a criminal justice and accounting student from Miami. She said this influenced her and her sister’s decisions to attend FAMU too.

“My parents are excited because we live together, which makes it easier financially,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said she and her sister do not have issues with trying to establish unique identities.

“We are super different,” Sheppard said. “As long as you have separate personalities, it is positive because you know at least one person in a new place. My family is close and we are social, so we introduce each other to our friends.”

Sisters Amari and Bethany Jones agree the experience of attending the same college has its ups and downs.

“I really have to work to maintain my own personality because we have common traits,” said Amari, a 17-year-old freshman environmental science student from Houston.

“This experience has been positive because I know I’m here to watch over her,” said Bethany, 20, a junior biological agricultural systems engineering student. “(It’s also) negative because I am usually held responsible for her.”

Amari said she has benefited from the experience.

“I get the inside scoop on teachers,” Amari said, “and I’ve tapped into more resources because I know the older students.”Amari said attending school with a sibling is a great resource during times of need.

“Remember that when you need that late night trip to Wal-Mart, someone will always be there for you,” Amari said.