Maybe you’ve waved at someone on campus and gotten only a blank stare in return. Maybe you’ve seen someone and done a double take, saying to your friend, “Wasn’t he just in Econ with us? How did he get over here so fast?” These situations could be chalked up to unfriendliness or magical powers, respectively, but more likely, you had a run in with one of the identical twins on campus.
There are pairs of twins in every grade at Wesleyan, and of these, many are identical.
Several of the twins on campus said that they did not go into the college process intending to end up at Wesleyan together. Freshmen Kerry and Grace Nix were originally opposed to the idea of coming to the same college, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was the best decision. Grace got in early decision, while Kerry was admitted regular decision.
“It was kind of hard to decide to come here together, but we made the right choice in the end,” Kerry said. “We wanted to go to different schools at the beginning, so the situation just kind of happened. Admissions tricked us.”
Rosy Capron ’14, whose twin Roxy transferred from Emory after her freshman year, agreed that, despite their initial hesitation, they are both happy with their decision.
“We applied to similar schools, except she wound up applying early [to Emory],” Rosy said. “I mean, it would be silly to turn down an offer from a good school just because your sister is going.”
Other twins on campus described a similar experience with the college process.
“We weren’t against the idea, but it wasn’t like, ‘Let’s try to do this,’” said Mark Nakhla ’13, whose identical twin Mike also attends the University. “And then Wesleyan was the best school that each of us got into, so we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ We visited at the same time. We both got a good vibe from it, so we both decided to come here.”
While some twins came to Wesleyan together, others made sure to end up at different schools. Tristan Bass-Krueger ’15, who has an identical twin at Columbia University, said that he and his brother made a concerted effort to separate for college.
“We had always wanted to go to different schools, ever since we started thinking about college,” Bass-Krueger said. “Just because we spent too much time together, usually, and we thought it would be good to part ways. We both knew what schools we were going to and knew there wasn’t going to be any overlap. He knew that he wouldn’t apply to Wesleyan, since I called it.”
Bass-Krueger said that, for them, this arrangement worked out very well.
“It was a peaceful process,” he said.
After traveling in the same group of friends with his brother in high school, Bass-Krueger now appreciates the separation he has from his twin. For him, it has been a valuable experience through which he has been able to form his own identity.
Other twins report that they have never felt the need to actively develop separate identities.
“Our whole lives we haven’t been trying to be different people,” Roxy said. “I feel like there’s a temptation to be like ‘the good twin,’ ‘the bad twin,’ and that’s such bullshit.”
The Nakhla twins said that their family encouraged them to stick together.
“When we were younger, our mom would dress us in the same clothes, just different colors,” Mark said.
“We have baby photos where we’re wearing pretty much the same outfit, but for some reason, I was always blue and he was always pink,” Mike added.
“Other than that, we weren’t really pushed to be the same,” said Mark. “Aside from classes, we both do very different things.”
Although both are studying neuroscience and are on the pre-med track, they pursue different extracurricular activities and are involved in different communities on campus.
The Nixes said that it’s easy to keep their lives separate while at school.
“We wave at each other,” Grace said.
“We occasionally get a Friday lunch,” Kerry added. “I guess there’s less association [than there was growing up].”
Overall, the twins agreed that their relationship has changed since they came to college.
“I think it’s interesting to come to a new place when you’re twins, because you think of college as a fresh start,” Grace said. “I don’t feel like it’s the same as it was growing up.”
The Nakhlas said that coming to Wesleyan and living farther apart than they had at home has strengthened their relationship.
“I think we get along better now that we don’t live in the same place,” Mike said.
Bass-Krueger agreed that distance has allowed him and his twin to lead independent lives.
“I miss my twin sometimes, but overall it’s nice letting him do his own thing and I can do my own thing,” he said.
As might be expected with identical twins, several of the students recalled incidences of mistaken identity while on campus.
“I’ve broken potential friendships maybe, because say I meet someone and then the next time, they see you [Kerry], and you don’t say hi to them,” said Grace.
The Caprons described similar pitfalls of being a twin.
“There is this weird phenomenon that we’ve both experienced,” Roxy recounted. “Having separate friends and teachers who have never met the other one, who once they learn of the other one’s existence, accidentally call us by the wrong name. It’s very strange.”
“When Roxy wasn’t here last year, people called me Roxy all the time, which is weird,” Rosy added. “I can’t think of why that would happen.”
Bass-Krueger said that, in his experience, people are fascinated with the fact that he has an identical twin.
“Usually a large group of people crowds around either him or I and sort of pokes us, and looks at us, and examines us, and gawks, and it’s amusing,” he said.
Kerry described a similar phenomenon.
“People like to observe us because they don’t see us together that much,” she said. “Then when they do, they like to just stare at us completely when we’re talking to each other, because we kind of take on different voices when we talk to each other. We kind of descend into this monotone. Small mumbling phrases.”
“Nothing else is necessary,” Grace explained.
Even though they enjoy maintaining their distinct lives, the twins on campus say there are advantages to having a sibling living nearby.
“I think it’s funny that we’re both in Fauver,” Grace said. “It’s convenient though, if I need tissues.”