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My sibling experience at Cal

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NOVEMBER 08, 2022

My brother and I didn’t plan on going to the same school. Being only two years apart, Sam and I knew it was completely possible but figured we would end up in different places, with him on the lawyer route and me wanting to go into nonprofits. When I decided to come to UC Berkeley in 2020, with Sam already going into his third year here, I knew it was the right choice. 

Although we didn’t want to take over each other’s social lives, we’ve made an effort to take advantage of the proximity and spend time together. For my first year here, the infamous 2020-2021 school year, there wasn’t much of a social life to have, so we spent every day together.

Instead of being stuck at home or paying too much for a Berkeley apartment when nothing was happening on campus, we decided to live – the two of us – in places we’d never been before. We lived in Portland, Maine the fall semester and Portland, Oregon in the spring just for the heck of it (and yes, the whole “Portland” thing was a complete coincidence). We got a lot closer during that year and shifted the dynamics of our sibling relationship from childish to adult. 

When in-person class returned in the Fall of 2021, we returned to our more separate lives – living in different apartments and taking all different classes. Missing what we had during the COVID-19 “vacation,” we made an effort to have brunch together every weekend. We weren’t perfect about the scheduling, and sometimes we would miss several weeks in a row, but it was nice to see Sam when I could.

In Spring 2022, Sam’s final semester at Cal, we took a DeCal together. The DeCal was completely random and had nothing to do with either of our majors – it was just an excuse to see each other and say we had a class together. Every week, we ate dinner in our hour break before class (dim sum at Dumpling Kitchen nearly every time), went to the DeCal and then parted ways.

By the summer, it finally dawned on me that Sam was leaving. With his applications all submitted for law school, I came to terms with the end of an era where I could make weekly plans with my brother or go to his apartment crying, with a box of pizza in hand for the both of us after an especially difficult day. While I knew our relationship would not be in jeopardy, it hurt to think that we will probably never live so close again. After processing all these emotions, I heartily welcomed Sam’s acceptance to Berkeley Law. 

So here we are, in nearly the same boat as before. Although I’ll be the one leaving this time, with my graduation more looming than his, I’m glad that he is still here for me. Even after we both move away, I know he’ll still be there.

Contact Daisy Friedman at 


NOVEMBER 09, 2022