By Halley Harrell
There’s a new kind of Crusader on campus this year: the CruSib.
The definition of a CruSib is a student whose sibling is attending or has also attended the university. In many cases, the sibling sets are made up of an upperclassman or alumnus and their younger sister or brother who chooses the same school. This year the numerous siblings coined the term “CruSibs” as several freshmen joined their siblings at college.
Junior Christian ministry major Ryan Murphy created a group on Facebook to help the CruSibs keep up with one another. The siblings also use the hashtag #crusibs when tweeting about each other.
The first of his siblings to attend here, Ryan learned about the school from a friend.
“I visited here back when Hurricane Ike hit Houston,” he said. “I saw the campus and felt a peace from God that this was where I was supposed to go.”
As Ryan’s younger sister decided to join the Crusader family, he was supportive.
“I could see her going here,” he said. “As a big brother, it was nice knowing that I could be there for her as she’s adjusting to college life.”
Freshman education major Lauren Murphy came to visit her brother a lot and ultimately fell in love with the campus.
“I was set on staying home a year, but then towards the end of senior year, I decided to come here,” she said. “I wanted to come to a smaller university, and it’s not too far from home. I just love it.”
While the Murphys are enrolled at the same time, other CruSibs have paved the way and graduated before their younger siblings’ arrival.
Sophomore exercise sport science major Bailey Burks is the youngest of three, and the third of the Burks children to attend the university. Her older brother and sister are alumni. Bailey grew up watching how much they loved being part of the Cru.
“My brother is ten years older than me, and my sister is eight years older,” Bailey said. “I didn’t really apply to anywhere else. When I was helping my brother and sister move onto campus, I just knew that I was going to go here.”
Though Bailey’s siblings both graduated several years before she arrived, she said that seeing them enjoy the Crusader lifestyle influenced her decision to follow in their footsteps.
While Bailey was inspired to attend Mary Hardin-Baylor by her brother and sister, freshman English major Kathryn Pasichnyk said she tried not to consider family ties when choosing a college.
Kathryn’s sister Lizzy is two years older, and picked the school because of its opera department and instructors. Hailing from Temple, Lizzy knew many of the music teachers at the university well through her voice training in high school. Lizzy thought that attending UMHB was a good choice for her.
When Kathryn’s turn to apply for college came around, she wanted to make sure that Mary Hardin-Baylor was the right decision for her as well.
“I was not originally planning to come here, but it was the best fit for me,” Kathryn said. “I tried not to consider it as Lizzy’s school. Originally I wanted something completely separate from her, so we could have our own unique college experience.”
Now an official Crusader herself, she believes that attending the same university as her sister has turned out well.
Freshman elementary education major Andrea Hale is another Crusader following in her sibling’s footsteps. Her older sister Audrey is a junior psychology major.
Audrey fell in love with the small campus, school spirit and overall sense of community the university had to offer. As Andrea looked into colleges, she kept her sister’s experiences in mind but did not let them sway her decision too greatly.
“It didn’t hurt that she was already here, but rather than thinking ‘Oh, that’s where my sister goes,’ I tried to look at UMHB from what I knew I wanted in a school,” Andrea said.
Andrea, Kathryn and Lauren all agree that having older siblings who have gone before them has provided opportunities that many incoming students do not get to experience.
“It’s helped because I know I can go to (Ryan) when I have questions about things. He’s been through it,” Lauren said. “Also it’s nice to have a family member here. When I’m missing home, I know I can go to him. He’s right there.”
“She’ll do laundry at my apartment a lot,” Ryan added.
As for giving advice on which classes and professors to choose, “I pretty much set up her schedule for her.”
When it came to meeting people at college, Andrea said she had many connections thanks to her sister. She met her current roommate Hallie Holden, another CruSib, while visiting Audrey.
“Andrea sent me a Facebook message that basically said ‘hey let’s be roommates since we kind of know each other,’” Hallie said.
Her sister Ashleigh knew Andrea’s older sister, and the four bonded over a shopping trip before becoming official CruSibs.
While being a CruSib is fun, Kathryn and others believe in trying new things and forming their own personal college experiences. They visit their siblings from time to time but also have friends to hang out with regularly.
“It would be really cool if we were studying the same things, but we aren’t,” Kathryn said. “I knew upperclassmen through (Lizzy), but I also knew I’d make all my own friends.”
Ryan enjoys having his sister around, but also appreciates that she is getting plugged in on her own.
“I love the fact that Lauren’s come here and made a great group of friends, getting involved on campus, you know, making her own here,” Ryan said. “It gives me a greater peace knowing that when I leave here, she’ll be OK. I think it’s better that I have to fight to spend time with her, and she’s not depending on me.”
“We don’t talk every day, but we talk quite a bit through the week,” Lauren said. “I knew a bunch of people from coming to visit Ryan throughout the years. But my good group of friends I’ve met just from being here.”
Kathryn said, “Sometimes it feels like we go to different schools. I see Lizzy when I have time, whatever fits our schedules. We have a normal relationship.”
Ryan believes that as the end of his college life draws near, having his sister around is a blessing.
“For me, my college experience is ending,” he said. “I think it brings a new stage of homesickness because you’re thinking ‘wow, I’m ending college.’ I’m thinking about entering the real world and how my time at home is going to change, how it won’t be the same after college. You’re out doing your own thing.”
Ultimately, Ryan is grateful to have his sister with him.
“As far as having Lauren at the school, it really does help with homesickness,” he said. “I think that God placed us here at the same time for a reason.”