I Look Up To My Older Brother, And Not Just Because He's Taller

I Look Up To My Older Brother, And Not Just Because He's Taller

Although I may not grow to be as tall as him, I hope that my heart will grow to become as compassionate and kind as his.

As the shortest member of my family, it is inevitable that I have to look up to everyone, but it is no coincidence that my brother is the tallest member; after all, I look up and admire him the most.

My brother not only jump-started my indestructible love for competitive swimming but also taught me how to dive through many obstacles and persevere despite the amount of water that filled my lungs. Through his difficult experiences growing up, be built up his resilience and further encouraged me to get back on my feet quickly. I admire his dedication and discipline that drives him to achieve his life-long dreams. After being rejected from his top college choices, he ended up going to his last choice of college. If he had the opportunity today to change which school he attended college, he would not have changed a thing.

After working hard through college, he was admitted to Baylor College of Medicine, then admitted into Harvard as an Emergency Medicine Resident where he will graduate this June and continue for his Masters. Through the many sacrifices he has made, he finally achieved his dream of becoming the best doctor he can be in order to help serve those around him. He truly inspires me to chase my dreams no matter how big they may be. My brother opened my eyes to the real world around me and helped me realize how fortunate I am with an amazing family and the gift of compassion. Through witnessing his passion to help others as an emergency physician, he inspired me to work hard and use my gifts to help others.

Despite his high achievements, he never looked down upon anyone else. His humble nature rubs off on me. I learned how to be humble through him by opening both my mind and heart to my surroundings. He helped me understand that Africa is not a name of a starving little boy, but rather the name of a continent that has one of the highest concentrations of those in poverty. I now understand that North Korea lives in an isolated, brainwashed world. He inspires me to change the world.

My brother never fails to encourage those he loves. He inspires me to become the best version that I can be, and he pushes me to strive for my passions so I can make my own dreams come true. He constantly challenges me to go out of my comfort zone so I can learn new lessons for myself and better understand how the world around me works. Of course, we would be like any other siblings and argue with one another, but despite those moments, he always forgives me no matter what had been said and done. Through him, I have built the person that I am today. Without him, I would not be the same person you would see standing here.

Despite our twelve year age gap and over thousands of miles away from one another, we are inseparable. He has a unique way of making his love known to those around him without any verbal or physical communication. We have many similarities because he is the one that has shaped me and my character. We both have enormous hearts that want to always care and tend for those around us, we are both hard working and would not stop at anything to achieve something that we really want, and we are both quite lazy and messy when time allows us to be.

My brother brings me more laughter than when he tickles me, and he inspires me to bring that kind of joy to the rest of the world. He is not only my brother but my mentor, role model, and best friend. Although I may not grow to be as tall as him, I hope that my heart will grow to become as compassionate and kind as his.

Cover Image Credit: Nicole Ma

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To The Sister About To Move Away, Girl, You've Got This

You may not physically be here right now, but you're always with our family.


You were there on the day I was born, somehow sleeping soundly as our mom gave birth to me. I'll never forget the photograph of her presenting me to the world and you sitting beside her, holding up your newly-purchased beanie baby with pride as if being handed this toy was equal to the miracle of birth.

It was a crab, by the way, which somehow makes it funnier.

Growing up, you loved to trick me. You'd make me do chores for you and steal my favorite Barbies, but I think that's just part of being an older sister. I'd stick my tongue out at you and cry out the same phrase, "Mooooom, Sissy is being mean to me!" In fact, I yelled this phrase so often that it began to take on a musical quality.

You were mean at times, but you always had my back. You physically beat up other children that had wronged me, and you let me crawl into your bed so we could watch TV together and exchange stories. We'd often immerse ourselves in fantasy worlds where we were princesses and we rode unicorns side-by-side.

But we grew up, and our fantasy world evaporated like the muddy puddles we'd play in after stormy nights. One second it was there, and then, it was just gone. I remember having a conversation a few years back where we wondered if we had known the last time we played Barbies would, in fact, be our last.

When I was a seventh grader, you were a junior in high school. Our problems were very different back then, but that didn't stop us from talking endlessly about them. We were so similar. We bonded over cheerleading, cute boys, books and music. But even more than that, we bonded over our similar life views and questions about the universe. We both possessed an innate love for life yet we were both distrustful of society's guidelines.

Watching you enter new life phases enthralled me. I thought, Wow, that will be me someday. I danced around the house in each of your four prom dresses, my imagination taking me to a place much grander than a high school gymnasium. Through your stories, I romanticized the future and hoped that I would be as cool as you.

It was a little tough at times, though, always longing for a different part of life. When I entered junior high, all I wanted was to be in high school. When I entered high school, I decided college was much cooler because that's what you said. And you were certainly right about that one.

You were the only one I felt comfortable sharing my writing with, the only one I knew could read the meaning behind my sideways glances. We just got each other in every way.

And we still do. To this day, you are one of the people I love and trust most. I don't know what I am going to do without you by my side, as you've been right there for 20 years. But I'm so proud of you. Of the many things we would lay around and talk about throughout the years, one topic persisted: moving away. Moving used to be a pipe dream, something beautiful that lived in your mind but would never come to pass.

And then you took a chance. And now that dream is a reality.

I want you to know how much I admire you. You are so incredible and resilient. I've never met anyone so strong-minded and willing to fight for what she believes in. You would never compromise yourself or your values for another person, but you are generous with others and so kind-hearted.

You are curious about the world and have a desire to learn about life and the richness it has to offer. That is a special quality that cannot be learned. You are beautiful in every way and are truly a blessing to have as a sister.

And it is from these very qualities and so many others that I know you will do great on your own. Sure, it's super tough at first; nobody said it would be easy. But if anyone can do it, then that person is certainly you.

I will always cherish our moments together, and you can always count on me to be there on the sidelines cheering you on, no matter where your adventure takes you.

Much love,

Your Little Sis

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