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

When my brother was three years old, he started crying in the back of our parents car. They were on the way home from a baby shower, and my brother was incredibly jealous that his friend would have a brand new baby sister and he would be alone. He demanded my parents pull off the highway and drive straight to Costco so they could pick a baby sister for him (he wasn’t a very bright three year old). Unfortunately for him, my parents didn’t go to Costco that day, but fortunately for him, they did have me a year later.

Many of my earliest memories are of me chasing my brother around. In fact, I started crawling at 6 months for the sole purpose of trying to catch up to him. Our 4 year age gap made that a bit difficult, considering he preferred hanging out with friends his age. We continued on this, with typical sibling bickering at night and our own separate groups of friends during school or at family friend dinners, but I was always jealous of him. My brother is incredibly smart, and shares my mothers passion for math, so she spent years teaching him math way beyond what he was learning in school. He competed in math competitions starting from age 10, and almost always came home with a medal. On top of that, he swam competitively and played on the school basketball team. I always had a running log of all the one-ups he had on me and kept looking for ways to try and beat him. I countered his natural skill in sports by becoming a track and cross country runner, but I was never quite as fast as him. I compensated for his math accolades by competing in science fairs, but couldn’t quite bring home as many trophies as him. As much as I loved him as my brother and protector, I couldn’t stop seeing how short I fell compared to him.

When he went to high school, our dynamic changed. His long commute and increased workload made it so that I barely interacted with him. Those four years were the ones I felt most distant from him as he would hide away in his room and only come out for dinner. I drove myself crazy with jealousy and comparisons as his trophy shelf filled up even more. I tried out for the math team at my middle school hoping to follow his legacy and quickly learned that it simply wasn’t for me. He became more of a symbol of what I would never be, and I began to resent him and myself. He was the golden boy, perfect grades and a perfect ACT score and great colleges lining up for him, and I was struggling with algebra. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned what he was actually going through at the time.

He moved to California for college when I started high school. I was terrified. EVen when we weren’t close, my brother was my protection and now I had to start from scratch at a new high school without him. Despite the thousands of miles apart, this is when we started getting closer. I would call him daily and rant to him about all the petty drama happening in my life, and he would make time to listen to me. I started seeing how I never had to become him. I didn’t have to be captain of the math team or follow his every footstep because he encouraged me to find my own path. I honed in on my passion for biology, and he advised my every step from which clubs to join to what to do during fights with my friends. He even shaved his head after I shaved mine, much to our parents chagrin. Our daily calls were always followed with a sense of relief, and we became closer than we had ever been in the past.

He moved home part way through his sophomore year because of COVID, and over that 1.5 years, we spent so much time together. We became the model siblings, who rarely bickered and genuinely enjoyed spending time together. Thats not to say we never fought, he is my annoying older brother at the end of the day, but we figured out how to support and love each other through it all. 

Now that my family is broken up with my parents at home, me at college, and my brother in Chicago, my brother makes a point of showing his love. He pushes me to be a better version of myself and to make the most of my time. It was crazy to see my number one competition become my biggest supporter, but I am eternally grateful for him. Somehow despite being further from each other than ever imagined, we are closer than ever before and trust each other with all the weird emotional things. The distance between us also makes me cherish those few weekends a year we get together even more. As we continue to grow older and someday build our own families, I know we will make an effort to stay close to each other because I don’t know who I would be without him.

Hi there! I am a sophomore Biology major at UT Austin. I am super interested in research and science, but I also love writing about my life and what I see around me. I love cat videos, weird science facts, and cooking new food. Thanks for reading!