Seeing Double

Twins, especially identical twins, seem to have a sort of special bond that even science cannot explain. Everybody’s heard a story of the sense of foreboding one twin has when the other, unbeknownst to them, is in danger, or how if one gets hit in the arm the other is likely to feel it, too.

Whether or not these stories are true, no-one can scoff at the fact that lives for twins can be very different from those of us who did not share a womb with another future human. Impact investigates: what is university life like for twins?

It would make sense that for this article, a twin was to write it. Lucky for us, I am indeed an identical twin. My sister and I both went to university this year and it wasn’t until the time came to pack our bags and fly the nest did we realise that for eighteen years we had never been apart more than a week.

All of a sudden, we were to go our separate ways and experience the world without the other half of us. This was a daunting prospect, but one, we both decided, had to happen eventually. We are, after all, our own individuals and this was a chance to explore a life as just that: an individual.

For our whole life, we had been lumped together (most commonly as ‘the girls’ or ‘the twins’), but now, we were our own people. No one to be compared to, no one to be confused with.

“I believe that there is are invisible ties which mean that I will always be somehow connect to my twin”

Unintentionally, my twin and I managed to not live too far apart; I went to Nottingham, she went to Loughborough. Unless we had both gone to the same university, we couldn’t have been any closer. However, this seems a common practice amongst other twins I have talked to.

Many other twins I’ve met either go to the same uni or their universities are just towns or cities apart. Some could argue that ‘twin telepathy’ was to play in this coincidence, to which most twins would roll their eyes at.

For me, I believe that there is are invisible ties which mean that I will always be somehow connect to my twin. Unconsciously, we are inseparable, but I don’t think that this is just venturing to university alone. I believe that inevitably, our paths will always intertwine whether we like it or not.

In my experience, I believe that having a twin whilst at university amplifies homesickness to another level. Your sister is your best friend as well as your other half. The sense of losing oneself is extremely prevalent as at first, you feel as though half of your identity is made up of another person.

“You need to have that space in which your identity can be discovered on your own terms”

So, when that part is missing, your self-identity goes through a slight crisis, moreso than for the average Fresher. Yet, it’s an opportunity to find you by yourself, without your mirror image by your side. I believe that if I went to the same university as my twin I would have ruined any chance of me making friends or fitting in.

We would have attached to one another and that would have been it. You need to have that space in which your identity can be discovered on your own terms.

No doubt that the transition of spending every day with a mirror image of yourself to only visiting every so many weeks is a difficult and emotional task. Loneliness is something I’ve never had to deal with before coming to university; not in a sad or depressing way, more of just actually being alone once in a while.

Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. At the end of the day, we are each our own people wanting to study different things and no one will stop that. Especially not your twin.

Shannon Hyner

Image courtesy of ‘Rafael Castillo’ via Flickr

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