For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 12 2016
by Alejandra Araujo

8 Ways My Sister Helped Prepare Me For College

By Alejandra Araujo - Oct 12 2016

It's week three, and compared to all of the other students, I've managed to stay calm and collected. Yes, that is me after high school graduation in the photo above, and the girl next to me is my sister. She's actually the reason I've been able to "keep my cool" for the past three weeks. How so? Well, she already graduated from college (University of California, Los Angeles, to be exact), so she gave me a heads-up on how college would be so I would be ready for it. She was also the first person in my family to attend college, so she also knows a lot about the process that I was completely blind to.

I’m very grateful to have her by my side through every step of the way, because without her, I would not know what to do or who to go to. Here are some specific reasons why my sister is the absolute best.

1. She's a Huge Help

It can be very frustrating when you are applying for FAFSA and filling out different applications for college, especially when you don’t even know what to do. Luckily, with my sister having first-hand experience, she helped me out with it! I was very fortunate to have her tell me the rights and wrongs when applying to colleges and figuring out the FAFSA application. If it weren’t for her, I’m not even sure if I would’ve been accepted into the university I am attending today (which is the University of California, Irvine *wink*). Now, I am not saying that those without help have less of a chance to get into the college they want; it's simply just nice to have some helpful knowledge on the do’s and the don’ts.

2. She Helps Me Cope with the Distance

I cannot imagine how my sister felt when she moved away from our family. I know I felt sad, because she was very much the colorful bright child of the house. To suddenly not see your sister all of the time was hard, but I’m also happy it happened. I learned to deal with not seeing her as much, but also keeping the close connection. When I went off to school, she gave me tips on homesickness and how she dealt with it, and it helped me a lot.

3. She Exposed Me to the Meaning of "Academic Success"

I was only 13 years old when my sister started college, so I obviously didn’t know what to expect when I first visited her. I was just about to begin my freshman year of high school, so I was already scared enough. When I arrived, though, I was completely overwhelmed in the best possible way. I was exposed to so much diversity, independence and variety in clubs that I didn’t even think could exist. I was surprised, and that’s when I realized I wanted to be exactly where my sister was. It was helpful for me to be exposed to such an amazing environment at a young age.

4. She's Prepared Me for College Life

High school made sure to engrave in our brains everything we needed to expect from the academic portion of college, but what about the other stuff? Like, the best meal plan? Is it more beneficial to do laundry at home, or at the dorm’s laundry room? Fortunately, I already had the answer to all of these questions. Seeing as I frequently visited my sister, she always told me tips and advice on things like meal plans and saving money.

5. She's Helped Me Save Money

Yes! You read that correctly! Since my sibling already attended and graduated from college, she had most of the essentials that I needed for my dorm. When I went shopping. I kept hearing “Oh! I have that!” or “Dude, you can totally use mine,” when walking around the store with my sister. (Tip: If you have a sibling that already attended college, it's a bonus if you're taking the same classes as they did, because then you might get the textbooks for it! Save even more money!)

6. She Told Me the Truth

We all know that some students party and drink in college. Although my sister knows I wouldn't be interested, and I personally know I would never dare to underage drink, she still told me the dangers of it. She thoroughly explained how quickly things happen at parties, the dangers of being sexually assaulted and recommendations on getting a pepper spray just in case anything happens during the night. While college can be fun, it can also be scary sometimes.

7. She's a Great Academic Help

There's definitely going to be times where I'm going to be stuck in the middle of a final paper that's supposed to be six pages, and I've only written two. I can guarantee it, but not only do I have excellent resources (professors' office hours, writing center, tutors, etc.), I can also have my sister read over my paper for mistakes before I turn it in. She made it clear that she would not be writing my papers for me, but she would be happy to help if I ever got stuck or if I needed a grammar check.

8. She Gave Me Club/Organization Insight

While visiting my sister during her college years, I noticed that she would attend weekly meetings of her favorite clubs. I asked her one night what clubs they were, and she told me their names and what they were in charge of doing. She helped me find clubs like Hermanas Unidas, which is a club specifically for Latina women and M.E.Ch.A., which is short for "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán" (translation: Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán). She knew how important it was for me to stay in touch with my culture, so she introduced me to these two the most, which I am extremely grateful for.

All in all, I basically owe my college life to my sister. I’d probably be a mess if I didn’t have her help me along the way. Jessica, if you’re reading this, I hate you. If she’s not, then I love my sister very much, but I’d never let her know that.

Lead Image Credit: Alejandra Araujo

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Alejandra Araujo - University of California, Irvine

Alejandra Araujo is a freshman at University of California, Irvine majoring in Film & Media Studies. Her biggest life goals are to eventually obtain a full-time position at BuzzFeed as a writer and inspire plus-size people all around the world like they have for her. She's currently an intern for the news department for KUCI 88.9. She loves music, films, and disneyland. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram! IG: alejan.dont T: @alejandont

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