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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

My mom had my brother and me 6 years apart. As you can imagine, we were not close at all as kids. He wasn’t what my friend’s brothers were like though. As a kid he hated school, he was rebellious and defiant. A lot of people that knew him thought he would be a failure, a waste of life, and just a downright useless human being. What they didn’t know was that he is one of the smartest people I know. Hating high school is common in many people but to him it was jail. He was bored, unmotivated, and underestimated.  

When he graduated high school, the expectations of his doubters were to work a crappy, cheap job and stay in the area. He started to believe them and ended up living that reality. He could not find a job anywhere that paid well, and he felt as though he was failing everyone including himself. He went to college and got his associate’s degree. After college, he had job interviews constantly and amongst them, there was a shining light that changed his life forever. He went from living in my grandma’s house shoulder-deep in debt to living on his own with a brand-new car living his best life. He found that this job we got was the best one he has ever had. He loves it and is so grateful for the opportunity. He is currently going for his bachelor’s degree and continuing to his master’s after. The doubters. The haters. The people that put him down. They should all feel ashamed and embarrassed. He has beyond extended pass expectations they had for him and excelled in everything he has done since.

I have never doubted Cody. Through his worst times, we got closer but not as close as we are now. When I was at my grandma’s house we would hang out. I would watch him play games and just hang out. We would go to the overlook together and get pizza from the Unimart late at night. Not once did I look at him and think he wasn’t going to succeed. Not once did I look down on him for his mistakes. I looked at him like he was my brother. I was always there for him when everyone else doubted him. Even though we weren’t as close, he was still so important to me.

My brother is now my best friend. One day, my boyfriend got me interested in playing Fortnite with him. We played Fortnite for hours and I loved it. I was talking about it one day and Cody got interested in the conversation and he soon found out that we both played. He has gamed his whole life and at the time they played Fortnite as well. I dusted off my old discord server and he got his friends to play with us too. We are all one big group now and we get on the chat every night to talk and play. If you asked me when I was 10 if I would ever be close to Cody, I would’ve said no. I never would have imagined us now, me 21 and him 27, where we are now.

I remember when we were kids my mom would rent a movie and we would sit in the living room together and she would buy all kinds of snacks and we would have a movie night, just me, mom, and Cody. My mom did everything she could for us. She struggled a lot and couldn’t give us the things she wishes she had given us. I know it weighs on her, but I couldn’t have asked for a better life. Coming from less made us value things more. I remember going to my memaw’s house every year for Christmas with Cody and he was my protection. If something happened, he was what I had there, and it was like that until the last time Christmas we had with her. I wouldn’t change anything about our lives. I wouldn’t change what happened to Cody. I wouldn’t change our friendship as kids. I wouldn’t change the life we had. Everything led us to today and today we are very close. I can call him and talk to him for hours. We tell each other everything. If I didn’t have Cody, I wouldn’t be whole. I’m so grateful for the turning point in our lives that brought us closer. I’m grateful for Fortnite (even though they make fun of it now). I’m grateful to have him as my big brother.

Alicia is an aspiring doctor. She intends to graduate from IUP in 2022 and attend Medical School directly after to become a medical doctor specializing in pediatrics. She enjoys watching movies, hanging with friends, and community service. She is a dog lover and has a pug names Porky that makes her smile on her worst days. Family is everything to her as you probably have read.