A plethora of knuckle sandwiches, noogies and hand-me-downs, or even the occasional timeout thanks to your brother tattling on you are all things the youngest kid in a family can relate to.
But little do many know these growing pains may be well worth it in the end.
As I grew up the youngest of three children in my hometown of Appleton, I sort of latched on to my older siblings. The oldest is my sister Kayla, who is four years older than me, and in the middle my brother Trevor, who is two years my senior.
Despite us being very close throughout our childhood, that didn’t mean we got along every living second of every day.
My brother enjoyed pulling his usual pranks on me, and my sister was always trying her hardest to get me to dress up and play dolls with her, but I was too busy with my hot wheels and legos to care.
Despite the times we argued and didn’t get along as kids, we enjoyed growing up in Appleton and we were lucky to get to go to nice schools with good teachers and have great friends.
But what allowed us to have such a great childhood was us three kids helping each other out and sharing our ideas and knowledge with one another. You could call my brother and sister one big support system.
They helped me lock my bike up on my first days of elementary school, gave me advice on problems I had with peers and teachers and even helped me with my homework for the teachers they had in years past.
Another thing I could count on was my teachers knowing my last name year after year from elementary through high school, and my older siblings giving them good first impressions on what kind of students we were. This allowed me to build strong relationships easier with teachers whom I still go back and visit.
Although you couldn’t catch my siblings near their little brother in public during the school day because “I would embarrass them,” it was simply enough just knowing they were at the same school as me and if anything went wrong, they would be able to help me out.
Beyond academics, I could also count on my older siblings to help me with my jump shot and my baseball swing. I could even occasionally convince my brother to throw on his catcher’s gear so I could practice my pitching.
But the best and most helpful part of having two older siblings was their aid in my transition from high school to college. When it comes to all the essays, applications and paying for it all, it can all be so stressful.
However, I had an older sister who had just finished up at UW-La Crosse and a brother who was preparing for his junior year at UW-Stevens Point when I was preparing to come to Eau Claire, which was huge for me.
I was able to learn how to use D2L, what an advisor was and more importantly what foods to stay away from in a college cafeteria before I even got to campus. Even though they never went to Eau Claire, they made me feel more comfortable leaving home and finding my bearings in a new city.
Whether you are an only child, the oldest child or the youngest, you learn a lot about yourself and surroundings as you grow up. Lucky for me, I had a strong support group at my side to make the learning curve year after year much less difficult.