The Sorrells (L-R): Michele Reali-Sorrell, Tucker, Lauren, Maura
Photo courtesy of: Sorrell family
May 6, 2013
By Chealsia Smedley
Ohio University senior communication studies major Lauren Sorrell walks through college green, sees a familiar face and shrieks "that's my sibling."
"It's always funny when we see each other on campus, I'm always a spazz when I see them," said Sorrel about her brother and sister who are also students at Ohio University.
Sorrell, who graduated on Saturday, has the unique experience of being in a family that is bursting through the seams with Bobcat Pride. As the oldest Sorrell sibling, she was the first in her family to choose Ohio University, which was barely on the Clevelander's radar, as she wanted to stay close to home.
However, on a whim she followed a friend down to Athens for a tour and fell in love with the University.
"She came home and said 'mom that's where I want to go, it's beautiful and that's my first choice,'" said her mother, Michele Reali-Sorrell.
She insisted that Lauren continued to visit other campuses. "No matter where we went she still said 'great, but I love Ohio University,'" said Reali-Sorrell.
It was the campus that won Lauren over.
"The campus was so beautiful and it was just everything that I had envisioned for a typical college town," said Lauren. "I instantly felt at home."
After Sorrell's heart was captured, the rest of her family followed suit. Her brother Tucker, who is a junior sports management major, visited his sister and was captured by the feel of the campus.
"He looked at a bunch of different schools and he liked them all, but he really liked Ohio University," said Reali-Sorrell. "I think the thought of his sister being there, even though he won't admit to it, was comforting, knowing that if he had questions or didn't know how to get things done, there would be a resource down there for him."
The youngest Sorrell, Maura, who is a freshman pre-med major, was initially reluctant to jump on the Ohio University bandwagon.
"My sister had no interest at all in Ohio University, she was like 'I don't want to follow you two, I want to do my own thing.' But she came down to visit and she was like when can I apply?" said Lauren.
With the three Sorrells all together the campus really began to feel like home. But there was still one person in their family who wasn't yet a Bobcat. Their mother, who works as a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, began to look for schools to earn obtain her bachelor's degree in science and nursing online. After looking at several other schools, she decided to enroll at Ohio University.
"My mom obviously loves that we love it here so she was super excited to become a Bobcat," said Lauren.
As a mother, Reali-Sorrell has experienced the benefits of having her children in the same place. She only makes one trip on move-in day and feels that her children are safe and in good hands as they help each other through college.
"It's very comforting to me that my children are all together so they can celebrate their highs and lows together and continue that family bond that I worked so hard for them to have growing up, and continue that into college," said Reali-Sorrell.
When on campus, the Sorrell siblings take full advantage of being together. When they get homesick, they either go to the dining hall together, or eat together at Lauren's apartment. In the past three years, Lauren has been able to help both Tucker and Maura find their way around campus before the beginning of their first semester.
"I think it's something really special to be able to experience college with your siblings and I love it," said Lauren. "I love that 10 years from now we'll look back and actually have the same college memories."
Reali-Sorrell is also grateful for the shared experiences.
"I think they've grown closer and I don't think that would have happened if they were at three different colleges, living and growing in those adults years far away," said Reali-Sorrell. "So maybe it's strengthened my family."
Reali-Sorrell has also had opportunities to have unique experiences with her children that she wouldn't normally have had.
"The greatest thing that has happened was last mom's weekend I had a lot of homework. So on Sunday morning my daughter Maura and I went to breakfast and then we went to the library together and studied for five hours," said Reali-Sorrell. "I was so thrilled, being at the library studying with my daughter and she was horrified."
While other students go to college and breakaway from their families, the Sorrell's are tackling college as a unit, giving each other space when needed, and leaning on each other as well.
"It's fun to be at school, but it can be overwhelming," said Lauren. "It's nice to have them (Maura and Tucker) here to keep me grounded."