December 4, 2019
As the 2019-2018 school year begins, newly-arrived freshman fill the halls, and teachers resume the positions they took just mere months ago. Students experience a new building, new teachers, and new peers. However, some students’ high school experiences aren’t all their own- comparisons to their older siblings can often overwhelm a new student.
Lily (’21) and Wyatt (’23) Courville
Although my comparisons to my older sister, Lily, occasionally appear while I’m at school, I find them more frequent in my personal life, especially during athletics. My most common comparisons happen during my swim practice. It’s not uncommon to hear “She makes that exact face!” or “You guys act exactly the same!” While these comparisons don’t insult me, it can be quite discouraging and sometimes makes me feel as though I don’t have my own character. Comparisons in these fashions can also overshadow a student with an untrue stereotype. Teachers and peers often let an older sibling’s mistakes define a younger one’s future. It is important for all parties to take this negative pattern, and reshape it into something positive.
Though sometimes discouraging, it’s important to realize that comparison isn’t always meant in a negative light. Being told I share all of the best aspects of my sister is anything but an insult. I think it’s important that these comparisons are formed into compliments, not insults.
Maggie (’21) and Clare (’23) Scala
Every year when a younger sibling receives their schedule, most older siblings assess what teachers and classes they have. Siblings often hear, “Oh, he loved me!” or, “I was bad in her class, she probably won’t like you.” These comments often shape how the younger sibling sees school. But do the experiences match up between the siblings?
When our schedules came this summer, I, like many others, asked my older sibling if the teachers I had were good. I received various feedback; some of which I liked, and some of which I didn’t. Like most incoming freshman, I asked Maggie, my older sister, what her experience at NAI was like. “The classes were kinda hard, and freshman year was awful to get used to. But as the years go by, it has gotten easier, and I like highschool.”, said Maggie. Maggie and I both found it fairly difficult to get used to high school. The workload and studying is very different than middle school. As of right now, I like high school a lot more than middle school.
Although Maggie and I have had similar experiences, I wish people would see us as different people with different likes and dislikes. It is difficult to be constantly compared to a sibling. tg
Reka (’21) and Gabi (’23) Gotz
Representing your family name well becomes a burden of a task as an older sibling, providing many boundaries with minimal room for error, but being on the wrong side of the deal won’t be the light of your day. Unfortunately, as a younger sibling we do often have to live in the dust, and I think most of you can agree with me on that. But being in the shadows isn’t always a bad thing! There are plenty of ways to take advantage of this, and as we grow older, our siblings will too. So make the most of it, and enjoy your time here in the back of the room.
Generally, there is a lot of negativity tied to being the younger sibling, relating to things like always having high expectations set on you, being identified as a sibling of someone else, and getting a hand-me-down-esque vibe of attention, and most of these things do come out to be true. But when there’s a conflict, there’s usually a way to flip it into your own hands. For example, since the attention we normally get is scarce and brief, I like to think that the lack of attention allows you to really accent on your own personality and bring a surprise or twist to a conversation when you get your fifteen minutes of fame. Also, depending on your sibling, being related to one can really bring you out of the dumps sometimes. Teachers will pull a fun little story out of nowhere, relatives will swap the dinner table topic over to you, and your sibling’s actions will seep into others’ perspectives of you.
I hope that some of you are really able to do the same, and try and grasp the bright side of life, and I hope that I was able to give some of you a spark of hope. But in every hole you dig into, situation you encounter, and problem you face, always remember: to be the best you.