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Families at Drake: Just a walk across campus

Many of Drake’s students are separated from their families by hundreds or even thousands of miles. With the holiday break approaching, excitement on campus grows exponentially every day. Students are eager to fill this distance gap, travel home and spend time with family. For Bulldogs who go to school with a family member, however, a piece of home is conveniently located on campus.

Out of thousands of universities, how do several people in one household choose the same campus? For some, after seeing an older sibling’s love of Drake, the choice was easy. For others, it was initially a little strange following a family member to college.

“It was weird at first,” first-year Jeff Marschke said. Marschke attends Drake with his older sister, Nikki. “But once everyone in my family, including myself, realized that we are here for different reasons and are living different lives, it became less weird. I would say going to the same college has made us closer.”

First-year Becky Copoulos attends Drake with her brother, Paul, a senior. Her older sister, Calli, is a 2010 Drake graduate living in the West Des Moines area. Copoulos also admits that sharing campus with siblings was strange at first, but like Marschke, she sees many benefits in having her family so close.

“I think it has been a great thing having both of my siblings around for my first year here,” Copoulos said. “I haven’t gotten homesick, and I really enjoy it because the three of us are close. They take good care of me, yet let me have my own college experience at the same time.”

Instead of following an older sibling, twins have a rare experience when choosing where to attend college. Sophomores Tony and Andy Froelich consciously influenced each other’s college decisions and are pleased with their choices.

“Andy actually chose to come to Drake a few weeks before I did, so he was therefore a big factor in my decision to come here,” Tony said. “I wouldn’t say it was weird to go to the same school as my brother. I mean, we’re more than just brothers, we’re best friends. It has been a positive going to Drake with Andy with no complaints to speak of. If I ever need anything, he is never more than a five-minute walk away. We try to keep our independence as individuals yet not lose the close bond that we have.”

First-year pharmacy students Kevin and Alvin Mathew are also twins sharing campus. They see the closeness as a positive experience overall, but they admit that there are some difficulties involved.

“My brother and I are living in the same room, but we generally try and give each other our space,” Kevin Mathew said. “We can live with each other, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight. We definitely have our fair share of arguments. Being at college together has brought us closer to some extent, but he gets under my skin at times.”

Kevin Mathew said he is grateful to have someone on campus that understands him so well, echoing the sentiment of other Drake siblings. He does point out a downfall in sharing a school with a family member, however.

“The negative aspect is that I don’t know how I would handle things if I was truly on my own,” Kevin Mathew said. “Yes, I am away from parents at college, but I have family here still with me, so I don’t really consider myself completely on my own just yet.”

Whether Drake siblings butt heads or grow closer than ever, one thing is certain: these family members share a unique college experience unlike any other.

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