Unique senior pressures

stepping outside of older sibling's shadows

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Unique senior pressures

Parul Pari, staff writer

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“She would want to hear about all of our stories and then she would tell us about her middle school drama or the fifth grade drama when she was 11 or 10. We thought it was hilarious because we were 18.” Anna Pereira, Dani Pereira’s second oldest sister, said.

Having three older siblings and one starting his freshman year at Harvard, Dani Pereira, senior, says that there can be pressures, but the way she has established her own identity has makes her confident in who she is today.

Her passion for interacting with people, especially kids, is a big part of her that allows her to connect with Anna, who is a social worker.

“Dani and I are so similar, and that would cause us to argue the most. It was also the reason we would bond the best [though], because of how similar we are,” Anna said. “Fighting was more about Dani trying to take things from my room, and since I was so much younger we were more immature.”

Identifying similarities as well as differences between Dani and her siblings became evident when, according to Anna, as all of the four siblings started to relate to each other with age, the age gap did not feel as apparent being the last kid.

“When I was little, I was the annoying little sister. I wanted to be like my big sisters, so I would annoy them all the time but, now that they have moved out, we are closer. I’m also older, so we hang out all the time,” Dani said

According to Anna, although she is closer to Dani now that they are both older, Dani’s maturity has always shown because she “ has always known a lot for her age,” and Laurie Pereira, their mother, agrees.

“For me, I’ve known a lot of 17 year olds. I think she’s one of the most mature 17 year olds in terms of how she thinks about things, not that she tries to act like an adult, but the way she approaches things that come up amazes me,” Laurie said.

The way Dani handles tasks in her life with maturity, allows her to not feel like she is in her brother’s shadow.

“It’s easier because he’s [Matthew] a boy so I don’t feel as much in someone’s shadow, and, personality wise, we are very different so it does not feel like a shadow,” Dani said. “Sometimes, I guess, I want to be like my siblings. Probably because my siblings are older, [so] I feel like I want to grow up faster.”

To avoid the feeling of not being able to shine in her own way, Dani’s parents have avoided this issue by talking to her about the sensitive topic.

“I remember when I was in middle school, they had a talk with me about it because people do say stuff to me on accident. They would be say ‘are you as fast as your brother’ or something because I ran, so my parents would talk to me. Obviously they don’t have the same expectations.”

In Dani’s eyes, all of her siblings have very different interests, allowing them to shine in different lights and not be as competitive as they potentially could have been.

“My sisters played lacrosse, and my brother ran, and I play soccer. Career wise, one of my sisters is in business, my other sister is a social worker, and my brother wants to go into math -so we are all so different,” Dani said. “One of my sisters is the ‘mom sister.” She’s the oldest, and my other sister is similar to me in a lot of ways. My brother is the one I can tell my secrets to, and he won’t tell anyone. Everyone is different so I can go to different siblings for different things.”

With three kids in the family who have already graduated, from a parent’s aspect, the youngest child can be the hardest to let go of from because it’s going ing into a new stage of their life and your own, according to Laurie.

“You have to remind yourself as a parent that this is your goal: for them to [go to college]. If they are doing this, then you are doing a good job,” Laurie said. “If they can, then their next step is supposed to be to spread their wings and go to the next step of their lives.”

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