Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Ask Annie: How do I stop comparing myself to my older sister?

Facing a problem yourself? Annie has answers. Ask away!

Nicholas Anastacio | Graphics Editor

Dear Annie, 


It’s my first year at GW, and I came here because my older sister goes here. During her freshman year she joined a lot of clubs when she first came here, made tons of friends and has a boyfriend. I joined one club, have 2 friends and no boyfriend in sight. I keep comparing where I am to where she was freshman year, and our parents do, too. I love my sister, but how do I leave her shadow?


Staying tuned,

angsty younger sister

Introducing Annie’s Friends!

As a fabulous older sibling, I don’t have the answers — you can’t blame us for being so amazing! So I’m going to call in a younger sibling. She’s worked for her brother at this very paper before, so she will definitely have a good answer to this question!

Dear angsty younger sister, 

As a fellow younger sibling, I am familiar with the lifestyle of coming second in everything. I was the second child to join the family and the second sibling to reach major life milestones like graduating high school and attending college. I was even chronically assigned Player 2 when playing Mario Kart.

Despite all of these predestined obstacles, which you or I can’t control, our birth order doesn’t make us the second best or inferior to our big siblings. 

When I first came to GW, I thought I had accurate expectations of my college career while attending the same school as my older brother. I pictured us rocking GW merch in the family Christmas card, traveling home together for holidays and occasionally crossing paths on our respective routes to class. 

I was mistaken.

While sharing a campus with my brother proved to be a memorable experience, I immediately encountered a battleground of comparisons between myself and my older brother, who surrounded himself with an extensive friend group and held a top position within a student organization — which I was, and still am, a part of. Did I have as many friends as he did in my year? Was he more involved in campus organizations than I was? Was I failing to live up to the expectations of my last name?

With each leap I took in college and each milestone I achieved, my accomplishments often felt downgraded, as though I was simply walking down the path already forged by my older brother a few years before me.

It was only after I severed the thread of comparisons between my own life and my brother’s that I could begin to write my own story on campus, one that was more reflective of my own goals and aspirations than my identity as someone else’s sister. I surrounded myself with friends who celebrated the ways I differed from my brother, and I started to pioneer my own traditions in D.C. to make my GW experience my own, like my trek to find the perfect cup of coffee in the District or attempting to visit as many Capital Bikeshare stations as possible.

If you’re using your sibling’s accomplishments as a barometer for your own success at GW, you’ll never reach your full potential on this campus. You must escape the expectations you’ve set for yourself since birth to play catch up with your older sibling’s success.

But silencing my internal pressures to rival my brother also meant allowing myself some grace when our achievements inevitably mirrored each other, like in climbing up the ranks of the same organization or enrolling in classes with the same professor. This campus is small, so don’t be alarmed if you share friends, are a part of the same organizations or pursue similar fields of study as your sibling.

Embrace being a part of an intimate friend group — the quality of your friendships is far more important than how many connections you’ve made during your first semester. Be proud of your membership in a single organization — lean into the group’s events, and if you’re not having fun, don’t pressure yourself to stay simply to rival your sister’s involvement. Don’t rush yourself into finding a boyfriend during your freshman year — focus instead on finding your footing on campus and exploring your identity in a college setting.

Imagine the moment when you receive your diploma at the end of your senior year. If you spend the rest of your undergraduate years mimicking your sister’s experiences, the accomplishments will feel empty because the goals you spent your four years chasing weren’t your own. Instead, reward your future self by creating your own legacy during your time on campus. Push against the pressure to follow in your sister’s footsteps and forge your own path.


Annie’s favorite nepo baby <3

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