Oh Brother

From fighting over little things to going to the movies together, a number of Stuyvesant students describe their relationship with their siblings.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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By Sammi Chen

“My sister and I have always had a strong bond together. I’ve always seen her as one of my best friends, and I could always talk to her about anything. When she first came to Stuy, it was the first time the two of us were in the same school. Sometimes, it feels like we can get a little distant because of the workload we get, but when we do get the chance to talk, we still share the same bond. And though her going to Stuy hasn’t made us closer, per se, it definitely makes our conversations much more relatable. I have four other siblings and share a strong yet different bond with each and every one of them.” —Leon Maksin, junior

“My relationship with my brother started with us hating each other. Some may say it’s the typical sibling bond, but these fights got so out of hand that even my best friend didn't want to come over anymore. Though we grew up in the same household, we were polar opposites. He was outgoing and free-spirited while I was more timid. Then, to everyone's surprise, we just stopped fighting. […] Now, we protect each other from trouble we may get into with our parents and cheer each other up. When one of us is having a bad day, it's normal for the other to buy food for comfort.” —Tyseen Murad, junior

“My sister likes to run; she’s currently in Young Runners, which is like the Road Runners club of her middle school. She runs two or three times a day, and she’s very interested in science and biology even though she’s kind of bad at it. She buys biology coloring books, which she colors, but also teach her certain questions. I think my relationship with her is pretty good. We don’t get to talk a lot because I get home kind of late and [we’re both] usually doing homework. The many times we do talk are like, ‘You should get me food.’ I guess our relationship consists of food. Dinner is the only time I really get to talk to her. Other times, I help her out with homework even though we might not stay on the topic. Over the weekend, we might do some some sibling stuff like going to the movies. We’re both fans of the Marvel movies, and we might argue about our favorite superhero or scene. She wants to go to Stuy and get into a bigger school to be more outgoing, and I would really like to commute with her so we can talk more.” —Stephy Chen, sophomore

“One of my most distinct memories with my younger brother is a rather sad one, but it is one that I think really shows our sibling bond. It was after I picked him up from his taekwondo class on a Saturday afternoon. He seemed quieter than normal as we walked back home, and I quickly realized that something was wrong but didn’t know how to approach him because he’s the type to hide his true feelings. In spite of my apprehension, I asked him anyway, but like I expected, he wouldn’t tell me.

Later on, however, as I continued to push him, he eventually broke down. I found out that he had been bullied at Taekwondo class. It wasn’t dramatic or said to his face, but the words the other kids called him made him really upset. They called him “short” (he isn’t that short) and made of his last name “Cao,” because people tend to mispronounce it as “cow.” As he was telling me about this, he started crying, and I cried along with him.

Afterward, I told him about some techniques to stand up to bullies and disregard what they say. We had a long talk, and I think this really strengthened our bond. Our sibling relationship can occasionally be impaired by our four-year age gap and petty arguments, but crying with him really made me realize the extent to which I cared for him. No matter what happens, at the end of the day, we are still siblings who care for and rely on each other.” —Tiffany Cao, junior

“I have two younger sisters. I would say we have a close relationship. Whenever something happens in school, they would be the first to know because my parents don't speak English well and it's easier to express my thoughts to them. Whenever something happens with them, they tell me as well. We sometimes watch an episode of a show together, and we all work on our homework in the same room, so we chat while working. It helps to motivate each other.” —Jenny Chen, sophomore

“I really love and value my sister, and a lot of her friends always admire our close relationship. […] Since she is a senior this year, I am a little sad to see her go. Yes, I always tell her how I won’t miss her and that I’ll be happy to have the house to myself when she goes, but deep inside, I really love her and wish she would stay in Stuy for another two years so we could graduate together. ” —Samantha Siew, sophomore

“My little brother and I have a pretty good relationship. He lives in China, though, which is probably why he loves me so much. I’m pretty mild so he thinks I am nicer than my parents. My parents work in China, and when they went back, he was still pretty small, so they decided to take him with them. I’d already started school in America by then, so I stayed here with my aunts and grandparents. They’ve been talking about letting him go to school in America, but he’s pretty rambunctious, and they don’t really trust him, so they keep putting it off. For example, he broke his leg recently because he jumped down from his school steps.” —Wei He, junior

“I have three siblings. They’re all younger than me. They always try to talk to me. I zone out sometimes, but I try my best to listen. Sometimes, I have to leave my work to play with them or they’ll get mad at me and accuse me of not spending enough time with them. There was a point when my mom had to go to Bangladesh with my youngest brother. I had to use up a lot of my time to take care of my other two siblings. I’m confused as to whether or not I want to dorm in college. I don’t want to leave my siblings since they’re all a lot younger than me and I love all three of them. I feel like they shouldn’t grow up without me.” —Fareeha Tabassum, senior

“My sister and I used to fight all the time when we were younger about every little thing, but after we came to America, we had to get a lot closer. My parents were always working, and we were young and alone all the time, so we really had no choice but to talk. As we got older, we had to take on more responsibilities from our parents because they were working hard, so we would fight about stupid stuff like chores and me being bossy, but once I got to middle school, that stopped because we figured out we had to work through life and family with each other. We always had to be there for each other; she kind of idolized me, and I always encouraged her to do things she was good at like drawing.

We’re also polar opposites because our personalities don’t match, but she would copy everything I do, so she would always be into whatever I was into at the time, and we could always talk about that. She’s always there to make me feel better and encourage me, and since she’s a freshman now, I try to give her advice so she does better than I did. Since we both come home late now and have a lot of work, we don’t talk as much as before, but every night before we sleep, we try to talk to each other so we’re always caught up with each other. It’s a weird relationship because I’m her friend but also like a mom figure, and she’s always been like a combination of my best friend, my sister, and my kid.” —Mimma Hoque, junior

“My sister and I roast each other every day, but we also defend each other when other people do it. We always stick together at public events so we can judge people, and we know all the tea on each other’s friends and family. My sister is also disgusting and gross, but I appreciate her because she also really loves me and would probably fight someone for me. She’s super confident and cute, and ugly and gross. No me gusta. I’d rent her for three days for $100.” —Yuki Li, sophomore