Living in the Shadow of Your Older Sibling

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Living in the Shadow of Your Older Sibling

Brielle Alwin, Staff Writer

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If you have older siblings, on the first day of school it can be a very common thing to hear “wait, is … your older sibling?” Being the younger sibling, you can often be defined by your older siblings. At times, you may even feel as if you are living in the shadow of those older siblings.

Trying to be defined by who you are and not your older siblings can be the toughest challenge, especially in high school. If an older sibling was a starting varsity volleyball player, the younger sibling feels they are required to live up to that. As the younger sibling, it may feel like your future or expectations can already be set for you by your older siblings. When you have multiple older siblings, those expectations or requirements can be even bigger.

Many students at AHS believe they are living in the shadow of their siblings name. According to a recent survey, 47.9% of students say their parents compare their high school career to their older siblings. In high school, trying to discover who you are can be complicated, but when teachers and parents are comparing you to other’s achievements, the struggle becomes worse.

Tomi Hall, a senior at AHS, considers herself in the shadow of her older brother, Alex Hall. When asked why she believes her parents compare her to her brother she stated, “He was their first child, he was very unsociable, and so basically they are just now learning with me.” Tomi, like many other students, is trying to create her own path instead of following the trail left by her older brother.

Being the youngest Alwin girl, I find myself in this position at times. Academically, the competition to be just as good or even better than my older sisters is nonexistent because we all had strong suites in different classes and subjects. Although, in the fine arts, I feel as if I am stuck in the shadow of both my sisters. In One Act and Musical, all three of us have had roles that are equal to one another, plenty of stage time and lines. For choir, we all have been choir officers and received awards. Even though I am living up to their “legacies,” I will always have the mindset that I will never be as talented as they both were.

Having older siblings is a blessing to most younger siblings, but all good things have their flaws. Quite a few high schoolers battle with trying to find their identity. How can we ask students to be themselves when teachers, parents, and coaches always compare them to someone else?

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