When I was about 15, I decided in moment of wild resentment and bugger you then, to follow in my eldest sister’s footsteps all the way to Oxford (which was where she was headed at the time although she changed her mind later). It was a bad idea.
The resentment arose from the pleasure taken by various teachers in using my sisters’ achievements to prod me to greater effort. This was also a bad idea. One sister had been dux of the school, the other had been Senior Prefect. It was made clear that I needed to be both to justify my existence.
What they failed to realise (and I suppressed until years later) was that while I could dig up the odd leadership quality if push came to shove, I was essentially a loner and had no desire to lead anyone anywhere. And furthermore, while I had the requisite IQ (which I’m pretty sure has diminished with age), I loathed academic study with a deep and abiding loathing, and the thought of committing myself to a future of it was akin to lining up for a straitjacket, probably physical as well as psychological. So either way, the footsteps they insisted I follow in were completely alien and not conducive to rollicking forward momentum.
When my own children reached high school age, the four of them ended up at four different schools. This was never my intention, but it had huge benefits. Each one was in a place that suited their individual needs, and each of them could be their own person without measurement on a sibling yardstick.
So it seems to me that if you’re genuinely thrilled and stimulated by the idea of following in your parents’, godparents’, uncles’, aunts’, cousins or siblings’ footsteps then go for it, and with a bit of luck you’ll have a mentor to guide you on your way. But if you’re not, avoid it at all costs. Otherwise you’ll end up hobbling along like an aristocratic Chinese woman from a bygone age, with bound feet almost guaranteed to make you fall flat on your face.