Alexandra Wenger ‘21
As a sibling, it has always fascinated me how similar I am to my sister. We are the same height, we have similar faces, and our voices are practically indistinguishable even to relatives. This is all expected, seeing as we were born of the same parents. However, something that struck me as unusual was how similar we are in the activities we engage in. Of the three extracurriculars she participated in as a Heschel student, I do two. Is this due to genuine interest in the same things, or due to a pressure to follow in her footsteps?
On the subject, sophomore Ayelet Kaminer, who shares two activities with her older sibling, reflected that it seems to be a combination: “I was definitely influenced by my brother, but we’re also fundamentally similar people and most of our interests are similar. That’s certainly a part of it.” She also mentioned a sense of familiarity with the activities that her brother engaged in contributing to her involvement. “It was more comfortable and convenient to be in an extracurricular where I already had an ‘in’ of sorts. My brother’s familiarity with those activities helped me feel a bit more comfortable, since I wasn’t alone in the club.”
Sophomore Laili Goodman agreed that it was a combination of shared interests and family pressure, and also emphasized the bonus of familiarity. “We do have similar interests, because we’re all very close – all of us meaning my three sisters – so we tend to have similar interests,” she said. “But also no, because I tend to go for something familiar to me, and going with someone I’m close with is useful. It helps me to talk with people I am unfamiliar with.”
Some siblings believed they were lead to the same activities primarily out of genuine interest in the same activities, especially as siblings grew older. Sydney Butler, a sophomore, commented, “My sister and I do lots of the same activities. We’re both figure skaters, we both sail during the summer, and we tend to go to mostly the same places even just to hang out with friends. When she was little, she wanted to do what I was doing and was very determined to follow in my footsteps. But she’s thirteen now. She’s very independent and outspoken. I have to believe that if she didn’t have genuine interest in the activities, she would have stopped by now.”
Although I got mixed answers, I was glad to find that most siblings were being true to themselves and to their interests. Siblings may do the same activities, but their shared interest is what truly ties them to what they do, not the need to emulate each other.