The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

It’s all relative: Students talk shared life on campus

Brisa Zielina
Twins Elizabeth and Katheryn Vermeulen `24 occassionally sow confusion amongst their classmates, building a bond as sisterly sidekicks.

Although the college experience is typically characterized by independence and leaving behind family for the first time, some Grinnell students find themselves joined by a sibling in their secondary education. Three pairs of siblings described how their growth at Grinnell, both individually and as a duo, has been impacted by having a sibling on campus.

Each sibling duo had a slightly different reaction to attending college together. Jacob Unzicker `27 said that he decided to go to Grinnell because his sister, Sophia Unzicker `26 had reported great experiences there. He also mentioned that he was encouraged by the fact that Grinnell gives such good financial aid, making it a cheaper option than even state schools. “I got in, so it was a no-brainer,” he said.

For Elizabeth and Kathryn Vermeulen, both `24, going to college together was not something they planned despite being twins. “For most of our lives, we have been a packaged deal, but in all honesty, college together was not planned,” Kathryn Vermeulen wrote in an email to The S&B. 

She and Elizabeth also both wrote that their decision to attend together was largely based on excitement to play softball together at the collegiate level. Elizabeth Vermeulen wrote in an email to The S&B, “I love my twin sister beyond words and am so incredibly grateful we had these four years at Grinnell together. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Ethan Versh `27 expressed the most reservation, stating that initially he did not want to attend Grinnell because his brother, Peter Versh `25 was there. He cited a desire for independence as a reason for not wanting to follow his brother, but once his college choice came down to Grinnell and Kenyon, he decided on the former. “Actually doing your own thing or being your own person has nothing to do with being near your brother,” he said.

From top: Brothers Ethan Versh `27 and Peter Versh `25 are equal parts friends and family. (Brisa Zielina)

All six siblings stated that one of the best things about having a sibling at the school is having someone you can always rely on. Kathryn Vermeulen wrote, “Two in the afternoon or two in the middle of the night, I have always had someone here who would be there for me when I needed it most.” Additionally, Ethan Versh said that he made friends outside of his own class year through his brother, and both he and Jacob Unzicker said that it made making friends in college less daunting.

For older siblings Peter Versh and Sophia Unzicker, the experience has also been a positive one. “It’s nice to run into him accidentally as I would around home, and I think I get to see much more of his college experience than I would have gotten to otherwise,” Sophia Unzicker said.

From left: Jacob Unzicker and Sophia Unzicker `26 appreciating the chance to hang out and bond in more ways than one. (Brisa Zielina)

Kathryn and Elizabeth Vermeulen wrote that one of their favorite things about going to the same school is getting confused for one another. Elizabeth Vermeulen wrote, “I love messing with people or getting the confused stares as we walk around campus. The best is when they finally connect the dots and realize I didn’t wave back that one day because that wasn’t actually me.” In a similar vein, Ethan and Peter Versh mentioned that they occasionally get emails meant for each other.

Peter Versh said that he and his brother’s relationship has become more mature in the time they’ve spent together in college. “I think establishing a relationship independent of our parents has been a huge step in becoming better brothers, but also better friends through the process.”

For Sophia and Jacob Unzicker, although they said they have always been “best buds,” they still see each other less in college than they would at home. 

Kathryn Vermeulen wrote, “Being in college together has changed our relationship, but only for the better. We have shared numerous experiences, but we have also developed as individuals.” She also added, “While we will always be close, college has been instrumental in helping us create our own identities.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Evelyn Wilber
Evelyn Wilber, Staff Writer
Evelyn is a second year intended English and math double major from Chicago, Illinois. She enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music, her dog Ted, and the season of winter.
Brisa Zielina
Brisa Zielina, Staff Photographer
Brisa Zielina is a first year and an aspiring Theater major with a concentration in American Studies from Los Angeles, California. She loves singing and acting and uses the word “slay” way too often. When she’s not slaying the day, she’s probably in rehearsal or studying on the third floor of the HSSC. If you see her around campus, say howdy, she’s always happy to make new friends!
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *