Big Sister, Little Sister

Settling into a new home can be unsettling and overwhelming at the best of times, but when you are only 11 or 12 years old, it’s a huge adjustment. At Santa Maria College, we have a wonderful program in Boarding titled Big Sister, Little Sister.

The program was introduced during the Boarding Orientation weekend in 2020. Big Sister, Little Sister pairs a Year 11 or 12 boarder with a Year 7 boarder. The program provides support and friendship, paving the way for an easier transition, and starts even before the girls have started in Boarding

Head of Boarding Tracy Webster said, “I love the relationships developing across all age groups in Boarding. The support of our Year 7s from their Big Sisters helps with the day to day and prepares them for big events at the College.”

Sage Murphy on being a Big Sister

Boarding can be a daunting experience and so my understanding of this drew me to provide a contribution to the new students in Boarding. A contribution that would involve extending their support network in this new environment, ensuring they feel as if Boarding is a home away from home. More so, an environment that promotes the development of true friendships.

As a big sister I have gained a greater sense of compassion and a willingness to care for the needs of those around me. I feel as if I have already become a better person from the few weeks of being a big sister. As a member of the Boarding community, I am determined to make a difference and I believe that my participation in the Big Sister program will help achieve my aim.

Some of the things I love about the Big Sister, Little Sister program are:

  • The establishment of foundational bonds
  • Creating numerous memories
  • Expanding support networks
  • Provides people to share interesting conversations with
  • Feel a greater connection to the Boarding community
  • Feel as if I am marking my place in the community and providing a great contribution
  • An opportunity to practice the Mercy values, in particular compassion, service, hospitality
  • Greater understanding of the diverse culture our community possesses

Ashlee Suckling on Being a Little Sister

What I love about the Big Sister, Little Sister program is that you feel like a family. The big sisters make you feel so comfortable about boarding school. The big sisters are also really caring and thoughtful. It makes me feel really safe as well. When I’m homesick my big sister is the best person to talk to because she is so comforting.

Having a big sister has been very important to me because I was really struggling to settle in properly, so my big sister came and saw me, and I felt much better.

Some of the best things that my big sister Sage has done for me are:

  • Gave me a welcome present/valentines card
  • Came and saw me lots
  • Always been there for me
  • Helped me with understanding some stuff about boarding and school
  • Treated me like I’m her little sister

The older girls help the younger girls settle in. They attend Mass together for the first time, check-in with their younger sister and say good night each night, celebrate each other’s birthdays, they also teach the girls how to tie their tie and manage their winter uniform at the start of Term 2. The girls also provide firsthand advice from their own experiences.

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