I've followed around my two older brothers, Peter and Johnny, for as long as I can remember. From building Legos, to "coaching me" in X-Box games and teaching me every swear word I know (think, “What rhymes with duck?”), Peter and Johnny were a defining feature of my youth. As the youngest sibling and the only girl, I'm pretty used to being the butt of their jokes and the victim of their constant harassment. The two of them have toughened me up and taught me a thing or two about competition, while I’ve been their personal stylist and guide on how the female mind works. As much as I look up to them, never did I think I would follow them in their decision to attend a small school in Richmond, Virginia.

My oldest brother, Peter, graduated from Richmond last spring. My other brother, Johnny, is only two years older than me, a junior here. From the moment Johnny opened his early-decision acceptance letter three years ago, everyone asked, "So are you going to follow the family trend? Richmond or what? How could you NOT go to Richmond?" My response up until senior year was always a confident, "I’m not sure! I kind of want to do my own thing."

Well now here I am, a freshman at University of Richmond. I ended up applying ED here, and the McNitt family received their third acceptance letter from Richmond. So yes, as much as I hate to admit it, everyone was right. With some persuasion (a lot from my oldest brother who graduated last year and couldn’t bear to leave this special place) and some hesitation about infringing on Johnny’s territory, I decided I would follow the family trend. Let's just say I think I ended up where I was supposed to be.

Fall semester, my brother Johnny was abroad in Barcelona, but come January 8th he was flying from Chicago to Richmond as my new partner in crime. We spent two years at the same high school, so two years together at the same college couldn't be too bad right? After a couple weeks of adjustment with post-downtown phone calls and arguments about the car, Johnny and I eventually found our groove in operating the siblings-at-the-same-school thing.

Here are the 7 perks of having an older brother at school:

1) Random Run-Ins

Who else would I run into on a random Thursday night at one of the many Chipotle locations off-campus? Also, there’s no one else I would rather have swipe me into a lodge the next Friday night. I think I see Johnny more now than I did at home, at socials, lodges, the library, the business school, and so many more run-ins.

2) A Gateway to Meeting Older People

Who else would introduce me to (and probably scare off) all the boys here? Having Johnny here also allowed me to get to know his adorable girlfriend, who is much cooler than I’ll ever be.

3) Social and Academic Guidance

Who else would sit with me during my first EVER registration early one July morning and console me while chuckling to himself when I didn’t get ANY of the classes I chose? And who else would I trust to give me an honest judgment of someone I ask about, as well as warn me about Dhall/library etiquette?

4) Having Access to a Car

Even if I may have parked our car in the business school guest lot one time and almost got us a $150 ticket, let’s be real, who else would let ME use their car? Thanks for being such a good sharer, and you’re welcome for keeping the car in one piece (so far).

5) Having a Buddy to Fly to and from School With

From airport chats in the very average RIC pizza place to our spring break flight getting canceled, it’s a miracle I have someone to help me navigate the airport and save me from boredom. Not to mention, we have more to talk about than ever now that we go to the same school.

6) Knowing Someone is Looking Out for You,

If worse comes to worst, and something bad does happen, who else besides family would I want by my side? After 18 years, it’s reassuring knowing Johnny will still be there, especially while I’m working on how to maneuver college life.

7) Parents Only Have to Make One Stop

It’s a two-in-one visit, with no scrambling to make it to two different parent’s weekends. Shout-out to our mom who's visiting next weekend with our two dogs! Plus, Peter can also visit his two favorite siblings in one stop at his favorite place! 

To Johnny: Thanks for letting me follow you around for the past 18 years. Here's to many more late-night phone calls, flights from O'Hare to RIC, B-school run-ins, and altogether too much (unintentional) sibling bonding time. Richmond wouldn't be the same without you and Peter paving the path for me. I love and appreciate you more than I act like I do. :)

Contact buzz writer Megan McNitt at megan.mcnitt@richmond.edu

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