Growing Up Without An Older Brother
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Growing Up Without An Older Brother And The Promise I Made To My Three Younger Sisters

First born. First to graduate high school. First to go to college. This is how I became the American dream guinea pig and how the responsibility I have to my sisters is a reflection of my success.

Alexis Rosas

Growing up I always hoped that I had a secret older brother living in Mexico that I would meet one day and become best friends with. I was a lonely kid, kept to myself in school and was mostly known for being the shy kid. My closest friends all had older siblings, which made me question why I had to be the first in my family to have to go through everything. My parents really decided to roll the dice and hope I didn't come out as some vagabond, gang-affiliated cholo like some of my cousins. In hindsight, I guess they really did me dirty but hey, someone had to be the first.

Back in Mexico, where my parents are from, your life was predetermined. If you were a girl you would go to school up until elementary school, just enough to get in the basic reading and writing skills, then you would be condemned to a life of house chores and cattle feeding. If you were a man, you got the choice of either going to school all the way through high school or picking up the family business which was farming, machismo, and excessive drinking. Well, my mom and dad were not about to let me, their darling son, go through all that. No no no no no. What they wanted for me was a lot better.

They wanted me to be the first in our family to a. master the English Language, b. successfully advance through every level of school, past what both of my parents completed, c. have a successful career in STEM, preferably become a doctor, and d. completely alter the course of our family's history in order to put an end to the seemingly endless cycle of poverty and misfortune.

Oh, and did I mention that they wanted me to do this while paying my own way through college, mentoring my sisters to do the same thing and experience no trauma or emotional imbalances that could have caused by the previously mentioned list of expectations. Pretty straightforward and simple, right?

I was always aware of the high standards that my family not only expected of me but was dependent on. Think about it. They risked everything to come to a country that doesn't want them so that their kid can somehow make a meaningful living. They have nothing, no house, no savings, no retirement plan, just the hope that I would somehow make it for all of us. Having an older brother to walk me through all of this would have really helped me, unfortunately, I am the older brother.

I have three amazing little sisters, ranging in age from 17- all the way to 2-years-old. The oldest one is a senior in high school and is going through the application process for college. When I was in the same position 4 years ago, I was terrified and thought it was the most daunting task I would ever go through. I was able to do it all alone but now that I have that knowledge, all I want to do is make her life easier and be there for her while she goes through her process.

With the youngest 2-year-old, it's very similar. I want to be more than her really big brother. She is going to get to grow up in a household where going to college and being ambitious is the standard. That to me is huge and is most importantly a reflection of what my sisters and I have been able to accomplish.

At the end of the day, I'm happy that I got to be the first. It was a heart-wrenching process but I am stronger because of it and I am able to lessen the stress on my sisters, even if it's just a little.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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