Hannah Elbaum ’19
Transitioning to college can be tough. It’s a whole new place with all new people, places and lots of real world responsibilities (laundry has to get done somehow!) For first years, one way of making college feel more like home and building a support system is getting a Big Sib in their house.
For upperclass students, coming back to school might feel strange. All the seniors have graduated and there are first years all over campus, but your house is still home, and you definitely want to welcome in the first years to make them feel right at home, too.
Every house on campus has their own unique Big Sib/ Little Sib traditions, but in most, the reveal is preceded by a week of Big Sib fairies leaving late-night gifts for their Little Sibs outside their doors. Here are some ideas for easy, low-budget gifts Big Sibs can give to their Little Sibs before revealing their true identities:
Tea is central to the Smith experience, so your Little Sib might be needing a mug! Feeling artsy? Grab a solid colored mug and decorate it with paint or Sharpies with your Sib’s name or something specific and special to the house. Whenever your Sib curls up with a cup of steaming hot tea or coffee, they will think of you.
2. Make a CD
Everyone needs a good playlist, whether it’s a pump up jam or just some chill songs for walking to class. Put your favorite tunes on there, ones that define Smith for you. You could also make the song titles spell out a clue about who you are. Little Sibs, never fear if your computer doesn’t have a CD drive; the Center for Media Production in the basement of the Alumnae Gymnasium has a computer lab that you can use to listen to your new mixtape.
3. Positive Affirmations
Life can get challenging in college. Sometimes classes are hard or the winters get unbearably chilly. Decorate pieces of paper with cute sayings, pictures or even just cool designs. Give your Little Sib some positivity and optimism to brighten up their room and keep their moods bright on even the dreariest winter evening. Looking for an art space and supplies? Check out the Resource Room on the second floor of the Campus Center.
4. Name Banner
Staying up until midnight isn’t your thing? Hang a name banner or sign with your sib’s name on it on their door frame, so when your Little Sib comes back from class, they have a surprise waiting for them. They can keep it on their door, or move it inside their room to add some color to their walls.
Big Sibs, if you have a favorite book that you don’t mind passing along, your Little Sib will appreciate a gift that means something to you, too. You can also give extra meaning to the present and give them a book that comes with a side of advice; an underlined passage or the encouragement to take the class the book was used in because it was pivotal in your academic experience here.
After a week of gifts, Little Sibs will learn who their Big Sibs’ are, which is the best gift of all. The friendship you build with your Sib creates a family, making everyone feel at home at Smith.