The family tradition

When I was visiting home last weekend, I re-discovered a little yellow t-shirt in one of my dresser drawers that I wore all the time as a little kid. Maybe it was the “Queen’s University, Est. 1841” across the chest that appealed to me—like a subliminal message telling me that this is where I would be attending university. Whatever the reason, it tells the story of an important place in my life and many members of my family.

Going to Queen’s has been a tradition on my dad’s side of the family for a long time—and I have a small family. Since we were young, my brother and I were pretty much conditioned that Queen’s was the university that we would attend, and by Grade 8, I was doing whatever it would take to get there.

On day-trips to Kingston, my brother and I were given campus tours from my dad as we gazed out the minivan window in awe and listened to his fond memories: “When I was a boy, the campus was my playground. I used to play hide and go seek on Summerhill.” Kind of cheesy, I know, but carrying on the Queen’s tradition means a lot to him.

As a former resident of Kingston, he grew up a few short steps from campus and now, I live a block away from where he did.

In September, there will be a new addition to our Queen’s family—my brother, Joel, will be studying commerce. My parents are elated that I will be here to show him the ropes—and I take this older-sister duty with great pride.

Joel and I are three years apart and throughout our childhood, we had completely different interests. Just as he was starting to get out of the “I’m-too-cool-to-talk-to-my-sister-in-public-because-I’m-so-tough” phase, I headed off to Queen’s to begin my undergraduate journey. Although we kept in touch on MSN and through the occasional phone call, we seemed to miss the chance to establish that close sibling bond. But now I know that things will be very different in September.

My cell rang one day and I was surprised to hear Joel’s voice on the other end. “I GOT INTO QUEEN’S,” he yelled. Then I started screaming until I was drowning out his scream.

After we hung up, I realized that I was the first person he called before any of his friends. He knew it meant a lot to me to see his dreams come true. Even though we’ll only be together at Queen’s for one year, it will be the most memorable year because I will be able to give him advice and share my experience with him as he continues our family tradition. Although I am proud, I have to admit that I’ll be living vicariously through him as he participates in all the crazy frosh-week activities, residence antics, meeting new friends, learning about Facebook, having floor parties, downloading from DC++, partying at Stages and having the best time of his life.

I just hope he can push a little room aside for his big sis once in a while.

So, congrats, Joel and all the other frosh.The best experience of your life is in your hands—I hope it’ll be as spectacular as mine has been.

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