I live for being a big sister. Literal or figurative it doesn’t matter. I love being a role model for young people. I have four younger siblings -that’s right I said four and yes some people still have big families these days – and people always comment on how much responsibility that must be for me. And it’s true. I was the built-in babysitter from the time I was 12 until I left for college. I watch my language around kids, I am very careful about what I post on social media, I don’t do drugs, I rarely drink a lot, I study hard and keep my grades up. I feel tremendous pressure to set a good example, but the pressure mostly comes from myself. I WANT to be someone that they can look up to. It gives me a sense of pride. But this feeling extends beyond my family. I have always thought that I get along better with people who are younger than me than anyone else. I feel confident around them and they always are looking up at you. Younger teammates, peer mentees, younger friends, kids I babysit. It gives me such joy when when they confide in me or when they seek my advice. I like helping them and being there for them. Not so long ago, I was working in a department store when a customer approached me and I got the feeling that I knew her. I quickly realized that it was the mother of a girl who had been on my gymnastics team, on a lower level, years before. Once she recognized me, she started to thank me profusely for being such a good role model for her daughter and the other girls on the team and for setting a good example. She told me she couldn’t think of a better person for her daughter to look up to. I truly had difficulty holding back tears as she walked away. I had never felt so great. It was the highest compliment I had ever received and it made me feel great to know that I had been such a positive influence in her life. I just feel like it is such a high honor to be the person that a little girl wants to grow up to be. So I will continue trying to be a healthy and positive influence to those that I think of as younger siblings. Yes, I’m the oldest of five. No, it’s not awful. I love it. And I will happily be the oldest of 15 or 50 because that’s just who I was meant to be.