My Sister's Shadow

11 November 2018

My most memorable instance of failure occurred during my junior year when I failed to be on the Distinguished Honor Roll. This might seem trivial to many people but they do not have the same drive as I do to be on that list published in the newspaper that no one actually reads. Although my self-motivation drove me to attempt to earn a place in the Academic Hall of Fame–a place reserved for those students that achieve Distinguished Honor Roll status every marking period of their high school career, my driving force has a secondary component to it: my sister, Lauren.

I have always been in Lauren’s shadow when it comes to academics. Being the second child and in similar classes as my sister, we shared many of the same teachers. We both attended the same Catholic elementary/middle school so it is safe to say that everyone knew we were sisters especially since she is only two years my senior. Being the quintessential student, she was valedictorian of her graduating eighth grade class. What rank was I? My graduating class had two valedictorians and I was right behind them in third place. As usual, I was one step behind Lauren.

The shadowing continued in high school. Lauren was a model student and all of her teachers loved her, which worked both to my advantage and disadvantage.Our last name did not raise up the red flag like I am sure some surnames did, but it also meant I was expected to be similar to my predecessor. I should also mention that she was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class. I truly was ecstatic for her and extremely proud, but I cannot say I was surprised.

Throughout my freshman and sophomore years, there would be a teacher here and there that knew Lauren, but then I became a junior. During my junior year every single one of my teachers had taught Lauren, and many had her in their class within the past year. I always work extremely hard in school and try my best to do well, but it is hard to stand out against someone who did the best that one can possibly do. I am not a jealous younger sister who despises everything her older sister has accomplished–that is not me at all. However, I do want my hard work to stand out academically for once in my life.

Distinguished Honor Roll presented me with an opportunity to tie with Lauren in something academic, something I had been pushing myself to do for years. I always motivated myself to work hard for me, but I still managed to remain in her shadow.

As a friend once told me, “Lauren’s blanket has no holes in it. She excels in all subjects.” This “blanket” that my sister wove gave me little opportunity to shine. This is the underlying reason I wanted so desperately to be on Distinguished Honor Roll. Failing to make it during that fateful first marking period of junior year denied me something I had been working for since sixth grade–the opportunity to be on my sister’s level academically.

My teachers reassure me that they do not compare me to my sister, and my parents always go out of their way to make sure that I know they are proud of me. However, none of this can help when I constantly compare myself to her. The only comparison that matters is the one that I make and how I view myself. College will provide an opportunity for me to establish myself as an individual and to practice being happy with my best. There will be no one to compare my sister and me at college and, most importantly, I will finally be able to stop comparing myself to her. I will have a fresh start, something I have never had before.

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