The Art of Sibling Rivalry


My younger brother and I were born two years and seven months apart. That is a weird gap — it isn’t short enough for us to be best friends and it isn’t long enough for us to be “strangers.” Growing up, it seemed like we’d certainly head down similar paths. School was always first, followed closely by music. Of course we diverged slightly when I was interested in acting — he wouldn’t be caught dead on a stage in a (gasp) costume! But in general, we had similar life goals.

I went to Temple University (as I’m sure you’ve heard me proudly proclaim several times). My brother followed me to Temple during my senior year. He joined a fraternity — at my request — and started to make friends. All seemed dandy.

However, going into his junior year, I noticed that him and I weren’t as similar as I had thought. My senior year, I had taken 18 credits both semesters, had two internships and worked four part-time jobs. He was content taking 12 credits, playing guitar and occasionally hitting the library to chill with his bros. It became clear that school was no longer his forte and his heart wasn’t in it.

He approached me one day and dropped a bomb — “Cris, I’m going to join the Army.” Umm — excuse me? He spent the last three years in college and was now ready to throw it away? But as he and I argued our points, he started to convince me — why continue with something that he wasn’t passionate about? I helped him tell our parents and had him meet with my friend who is a recruiter.

The point of this post was to remind myself that you must ALWAYS follow your heart. You cannot excel at something for which you have no passion. Never thought he’d teach me anything (no offense, Tim) but he did without realizing it.

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About cristinmcgrath

Cristin is a consumer engagement consultant who is currently exploring new opportunities within social media strategy and digital marketing. With experiences ranging from traditional media relations and public affairs to interactive and digital marketing with a specialization in emerging media, she is a versatile marketing professional.

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