The Tower (Princeton, NJ)
“Oh my gosh, you guys are twins!”
In my life, I’ve heard this phrase a thousand times. And it’s understandable, since twins don’t come around every day. Legends described them as supernatural occurrences. However, 21st century medicine and fertility drugs have radically increased the number of twins, and put a stop to the stories. But the curiosity still remains of what it’s really like being a twin.
Growing up, I was never conscious of being a twin. It wasn’t something different or unique; it just was. People questioned me about my brother and our relationship, but what could I tell them? Our interactions were like any other siblings’: we played, fought, and annoyed each other ceaselessly.
During school, my brother and I rarely talk to each other. It’s not that we ignore the other person; we’ll exchange a nod or quick glance. But our lives are separate in school. We travel in different circles, take different classes, and participate in different activities. Freshman year, my brother and I were placed in the same history class—it took some classmates a month to figure out we were related, let alone twins.
There are advantages to being a twin. If I forget a homework assignment, I can just knock on my brother’s door. But there are disadvantages as well. Teachers often believe that twins share the same skill set. People forget that though my brother and I are twins, we are not the same person. Our interests and talents lie in different areas. My brother wrestles; I fence. He likes Jay-Z; I like Florence + the Machine. Regardless, teachers compare us in any way possible. Sibling rivalry can be healthy, but pitting twins against each other may cause them to grow up with confidence issues or lose the bonds with their family.
Lucky for us, my brother and I are not competitive with each other. It’s not that we treat grades and sports lightly—we take our responsibilities seriously. But we share an understanding that we have our own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of fighting with each other, we give ourselves space and step in when help is needed.
Is my high school experience different from others’ because I’m a twin? I couldn’t tell you. There will never be a time in my life when I am not a twin. It’s something that is constant even when everything else changes. There are aspects of it I treasure, and parts I could live without. But at the end of the day, I can’t imagine a high school experience without my brother. That is the true beauty of being a twin—you always have the confidence that someone is by your side.
Graphic: Leah Roemer and Evi Wu