The Lundquist Brand

I am a Lundquist. To most, that doesn’t mean anything. To teachers, it means I am related to one of the brilliant students they have had before. To me, being a Lundquist means attempting, usually in vain, to meet expectations set impossibly high by siblings and upheld by my parents and the teachers who were “graced” with their presence years before me. Despite having a personality almost alien to the rest of my family, I am shadowed by the nine letters used now to identify who I am as a student, and to almost everyone, as a person.

There are six Lundquist kids, but two are responsible for the stereotype I am now subject to: my older sister Emily and older brother Adam. Emily graduated as valedictorian of her class, earning a 4.7 GPA and an acceptance letter to UCLA. Naturally, her name became legendary to all honors and AP teachers throughout the school as the word “Lundquist” became a measurement of intelligence and character for years to come. Emily’s strong subject, and major from UCLA, was English, so naturally that became my most difficult class. Since freshman year her writings have silently haunted mine by maintaining a grade scale unfeasibly high. Emily’s writing legacy, quite plainly, dwarfs my attempts.

Adam Lundquist. For the first two years, and undoubtedly for the next two, my older brother’s name has cast me into a shadow I fear I will never escape. I have in fact become a shadow of what my brother is; we share similar characteristics and certain aspects of our lives, but I am an empty shell of his persona. This scenario is not one I which to be involved in, but one I was encased in ever since the seventh grade. To the majority of people that can identify my name or last name more specifically, I am “Adam’s brother”. Those words, “Adam’s brother”, signify that I have failed in creating an individual person from within myself. I have been labeled.

I have tried in the past to break the chains of the branded life. I believed that being a Lundquist was a curse, that my life was being decided, choices being made, the future being planned, all without my consent or opinion. I assumed that this was the path I was destined to travel, that my life was to be dictated by nine letters. Impractical expectations and assumptions about me became a nightmare I had concluded must be endured during my years at school. The realization and true meaning of “Lundquist” did not become clear to me for quite some time.

The situation I am presently in, the adorned last name I currently posses, has not extinguished all hopes of individualism. Rather, I have been challenged to create my own name. The silent test given to me by my older siblings is one that has been passed down through us all. The unspoken exam has been passed, aced, and in Emily’s case re-written, by the four who have taken it before me. It is my turn to create my mark, apply who I am to this test, receive my grade, reach Adam’s standard and create my own, and pass it on. Being a Lundquist does not classify who I am, it defines what I can do, how much potential I have. I am a Lundquist, and that means everything.