Siblings at Swarthmore

I was so excited to hear about my acceptance to Swarthmore, but along with this excitement came uncertainty about what it would be like going to the same college as my two sisters, Olivia ‘22 and Allison ‘23. The three of us have always been very close; however, none of us had thought about going to school with one other sibling, let alone all three of us going to the same school. Every school seems to have its own personality, and I would describe Swat’s as intellectually curious, well-rounded, and slightly nerdy. Since my sisters and I all seem to fit this personality, I guess it came as no surprise that we all ended up choosing Swarthmore. In August, when it was time to head to Swat for International Orientation (my older sister was an orientation leader), we all boarded the plane and left our hometown of Vancouver, Canada, unsure of what was to come. 

The First Few Weeks

My first few days consisted of many Facetime calls asking my older sister for help when I got lost and to help me find certain buildings. A fun fact about Swat is that although every single plant, tree, and bench is labelled because we’re an arboretum, most buildings do not have labels so it can be hard to navigate campus at first, but, I promise it gets better (I am a tour guide now so I guess you could say that I’ve figured it out). As for my twin and I, both of us spent the majority of our encounters with new people explaining that we had, in fact, not met them before and that we had an identical twin also on campus. Luckily, Swarthmore’s tight-knit community was such a welcoming group of people who truly wanted to get to know us both and were willing to put in the extra effort to tell us apart.


By September, I felt more settled on campus and really started to understand what it was like being a Swattie. Getting involved in aspects of the community like sports, academic groups, and social activities was easy with the small student population and the freshman pass/fail first semester. With my days packed with engaging classes, sports practices, delicious Sharples ice cream to recharge, academic help sessions led by older students, and various social events, I found that I almost never saw my sisters anymore. 

Making Time for What Matters

Since Swarthmore provides many resources such as shuttles to the closest movie theatre and a nearby town, Media, my sisters and I decided to utilize this resource to get some quality sister time. We created a tradition called “Sister Dinner,” where every Friday night, we take the free shuttle to Media or maybe even take the train from the campus station into downtown Philadelphia to eat dinner and catch up on each other’s lives. Our tradition has carried on strong since its creation in October 2019, and we hope to continue it for all the years to come. Swarthmore has given me the space to maintain a social support system along with all my academics and extracurriculars and the resources to make time for what matters to me: family.

Sister Dinner!

About the Author:

Hi! I’m Paris, a freshman from Vancouver, Canada. I plan on doing a double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Politics at Swarthmore and am currently on the pre-law track. Outside of the classroom, I am a leadership fellow, a tour guide, and play tennis and squash at Swarthmore. In my spare time, you could find me attempting new recipes in the Danawell kitchen or taking a walk in Crum Woods.

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