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A Letter to My Little Brother On the Eve of His 16th Birthday

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

Hey, kid,

Nearly 16 years ago, my world became infinitely better when you entered it, screaming and crying, but absolutely precious. I remember being antsy in my first grade classroom, watching the clock, waiting for Dad to come pick me up to go and meet you. And then there you were, a little angry about the fact that you’d been made to leave a place where the food was constantly flowing, but ready to take on the world. Since that fateful Tuesday, you have been the most important person on the planet to me. I’ve fought for you, protected you from dangers real or imagined. We’ve gone all over the world together, from very real destinations like Johannesburg and Rome, to the almost as real Gotham City and Neverland. We’ve fought (a lot) because you are almost impossibly stubborn and annoying, but we’ve also always been on the same team, especially when it comes to roasting, well, anyone. You’ve taught me to be brave and fearless, to fight back, how to get away with almost everything, and also how to be bomb at 2K.

On Monday, March 5th, you’ll be sixteen years old, which is amazing and absolutely horrifying for me as I confront my own mortality. For you, this means that junior year is fast approaching, as is you getting your license and reaching other markers of adolescent freedom, but it also means that you’re growing up and the world is getting a little scarier and there are a few things I feel that I should share with you (in my infinite wisdom) as adulthood quickly approaches. I know that “you know everything” (you’ve told me as much once a week since you were like 8), but here are a few tidbits that I think you should know:

  1. I am so, so proud of you. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that I talk about how amazing and wonderful you are constantly. You’re ambitious and don’t take anyone’s crap. You’re so intuitive and I really admire that about you. You’re gonna go far, kid, because you’re not gonna let anyone stop you from doing whatever it is that you want to do. But please run your ideas by me first, I’m here to keep you from doing something truly stupid or self-destructive. I’ve messed up enough that I can at least keep you from making the same mistakes I’ve made.

  2. Do your homework, fam. The world was not made for an intelligent, bold, determined young black man, but you’re going to take it by storm, I know that for sure. To do that, though, you have to be twice as good as the kids you go to school with. You can’t coast, not now, not if you want to be a neurosurgeon.

  3. Let people in! (By people, I mean me. Please stop only calling me when you need money, fam, I’m broke af.) I wanna know everything about your life, because I wanna help in whatever ways I can, but also because other people can help you of you just let them in a little more. Smile more, learn how to give a damn hug, spend less time playing “Overwatch” and more time with others.

  4. Give back. Volunteer, do something good for others without expecting anything from them in return, put some good out into the universe. Not only will you get so much good back, but it makes you feel way better.

  5. Be brave. I’m not talking about pulling some dumb stunts (point 5 and a half is to be less foolish), but stand up for what you know is right, stand up for what you deserve, stand up for others. It’s not always fun and sometimes the world (or our parents) will punish you, but know who you are, know what you believe in, know what you, a sixteen year old young man, a citizen of the universe, an amazing individual, deserves. And know that I will be standing right next to you.

  6. Get a bae. This isn’t actually relevant and you probably wouldn’t tell me if you did, I just want you to because I wanna be obnoxious.

  7. Listen to me! I give great advice, I’ve literally never been wrong in my life, and I’ve got your back.

I hope and pray that sixteen is an amazing and magical year. I hope you get everything you’ve ever wanted and more and I definitely hope that I get my license before you because you’ll be insufferable otherwise. I love you more than anything and I’ll see you soon, kid.


The best big sister in the universe

Image source: x

Lyssi Joseph

Mt Holyoke '18

Lyssi Joseph is a Mount Holyoke graduate who majored in International Relations and minored in Geography. She loved the three years that she served as co-Campus Correspondent for HC Mount Holyoke and is grateful to her co-CC, Deborah, and the amazing members of the team for making these past three years so wonderful. She is excited to follow along and see how HC Mount Holyoke continues to grow and excel. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and napping.