Twins find comfort in having each other close
Identical siblings sometimes mistaken for each other by professors, friends
Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 02:05
At two years old, twins Jessica and Shannon Marshall were speaking in their own language before they could talk normally. Now, 20 years later, they are closer than ever — both seniors at the university, roommates and enrolled in the same major.
When they began the college application process, the Marshalls looked at a majority of the same schools, but looked at some different ones as well. In the end, they made the same decision.
"I think it was the fact that the University of Delaware is such a good school and we both loved it," Shannon said. "Every time we liked different schools, we'd always convince each other and then jump on the bandwagon."
The two are both psychology education and Spanish majors, but are not with each other as much as they used to be because they are student teaching at different schools this semester. While they were required to take the same classes, they said they usually took them at different times.
"She took a lot of psych classes first and I took a lot of Spanish classes first and then we flip-flopped," Jessica said.
The twins said they have similar personalities but react differently in certain situations.
"We're both really extroverted and really friendly, but sometimes I might be more loud and she'll be more shy," Shannon said. "It depends on what situation we're in and what kind of people we're around. Jessica's a little more idealistic, a little more ambitious. I'm less of a procrastinator."
The two said coming to college with their twin made the college transition process easier. Their parents were also very happy they chose the same school, especially since it makes it easier for them, only having to visit one school instead of two.
"Freshman year, when everyone else was really out of their comfort zone, we still had a piece of home with us, so it made it a lot easier to get adjusted," Jessica said.
Shannon and Jessica often get mistaken for one another, but they said it does not really bother them.
"We do have so many similar interests; it's hard for us to completely diverge. I don't introduce her as my twin — I say, ‘This is my sister,' Shannon said. "I don't even realize when people are staring at us, I think, ‘What am I wearing?' and then I realize, ‘Oh! We look alike.' "
Although they spend a lot of their time together, the two do not think of it as spending time with their sibling.
"For me, it's like I have my best friend here. Yes, I consider her my twin, but why wouldn't I want her around?" Jessica said. "Why wouldn't I want my best friend around?"
Identical twins Brittany and Brianna Boyens have experienced college in a similar way to the Marshalls.
Brittany and Brianna are seniors, roommates and English majors. They looked at all of the same schools, but said the university was their first choice.
"We didn't want to separate. Since we went to the same high school, it was just something we were used to," Brianna said. "When we applied and both got in, we said, ‘Okay, we'll go together.' "
As freshmen, the two decided they wanted to be randomly assigned housing, but still ended up on the same floor.
"We both had separate roommates and everything, so that was cool," Brittany said. "It was the first time that we were doing things really separate."
Almost four years later, the twins are now roommates and said they usually take two or three classes together each semester.
"I had a full conversation once with a professor that wasn't mine," Brianna said. "I was like, ‘What's going on? I feel like I should still talk to him because he's a professor, but I don't know who this person is.' He was acting like he knew me. About a minute in I was like, ‘Oh…' It clicked in my head and I said, ‘I know what's happening right now.' "
The two said they are mistaken for each other almost every day, usually by people who only know one of them. They may spend a lot of time together, but since coming to college, they try to keep a balance of building separate lives and staying together.
"We're together a lot and we have a lot of the same friends, but there's also times when we're separate and do different things," Brianna said. "We don't completely separate ourselves."
Both the Boyens and the Marshalls agree being a twin in college is a great thing.
"You never have to worry about going somewhere and being outside of our comfort zone. We always have each other," Jessica said. "It's good to have someone to depend on unconditionally."