June 20, 2018, by Lucy
The Truth About Being a Twin at University
The Separation is Unsettling
Being an identical twin, it is safe to say that moving to university caused a major lifestyle shift for me. Indeed, for the past 18 years although I had lived my life as an individual, that life had always coexisted alongside my twin sister. Despite being in different classes, friendship groups and sports clubs, at the end of the day, we had always had each other and knew the ins and outs of each other’s lives. However, when I went to Nottingham and she went to Cardiff, our lives diverged massively. Now we both have friendship groups that neither of us have met, are friends with some people who don’t even know that we’re twins and face different problems sparked by our separate university lives. I’m not saying that this has been a devastating shock to the system, but it has been weird and unnerving to say the least. Suddenly it feels like I’m an only child, only realising the comfort inherent to being a twin now that the familiarity has been taken away.
You’re No Longer Known Because of Your Twin-ness
As bad as it sounds, throughout my school life, I was predominantly known as being one half of ‘the twins’. At the time this label seemed harmless and appeared too small of a matter to contest. If it made people’s lives easier then so be it… call me that, I get it. Living at university means that to those around me, this label is now obsolete. You can’t be half of ‘the twins’ if you are living by yourself. Here, at Notts, I am Lucy and I love it. I no longer have to fight for my individuality because people assume that it is a given. I mean, nobody thinks that anyone is a twin until they are told it. Now people can get to know the real me away from my sibling. I am known for who I am rather than what I am. Who knew the disposable of such a label could be so liberating? This is not to say that being a twin is bad: it does prove useful when asked to give a fun fact about myself.
The Competition Still Exists
I can’t speak for all twins, but me and my sister have always been highly competitive. Albeit implicit and unspoken, the competition has always been there. In terms of this competition, the rivalry was always most intense academically. Because, academically, we are pretty much equal in our abilities, test scores inevitably became a means of gaining a sense of superiority over each other. Neither of us wanted to let our grades slip so as to lose the competition. As a result, this self-imposed pressure had a positive effect: it motivated both of us to exceed out academic targets. Being at university has not hindered this competition, although I like to believe that it has lessened in form. During term time we act on our own behalves, but come the holiday season, when work becomes serious, we motivate each other to succeed. It’s like having your own motivational speaker on speed dial.
I lived with twins during my university days