Reader submission: Twins divided by colleges, not by spirit

Sept. 19, 2012, might have been just another school day at Marquette, but for me it marked a milestone in my life. I had been away from my twin sister, Jill, for an entire month – something I had never done in my previous 18 years of life.

Growing up as a twin, I did almost everything with my other half, whether it was going to summer camp, after-school activities such as synchronized swimming, wearing matching outfits or merely hanging out with the same group of friends. But when we began high school, we started taking different classes and doing different extracurricular activities – Jill played tennis and soccer while I wrote for the school newspaper and played softball and basketball. Although we were not able to spend much time together during the day anymore, we still lived in the same house and got to see each other every night.

This past summer Jill and I worked at Hidden Valley Camp, where we had been long-time campers and were now old enough to be on the staff. We spent our last nine weeks before beginning our adventures at college by living in the woods, experiencing one of our favorite childhood memories together.

I left for college less than 30 hours after coming back from camp. This quick turnaround from Portland to Milwaukee did not give me enough time to comprehend what was really going on. I came to Marquette knowing only one incoming freshman. I was leaving everyone I knew: my family, friends and most importantly, my twin (or my “built-in best friend,” as we like to think).

The first few days, I felt alone. When my roommate and I would walk around campus, I could not recognize a single person, whereas she was able say hello to someone she knew every so often. I began rethinking my choice: could I be happy in a place where I had no past connections? The ability to go home and always have someone to talk to was now a phone call away, something I never had to think about before coming to college.

But when my twin and I finally had our first Skype date, I realized everything was going to be okay. All I needed to do was pick up the phone (or computer) and call. As twins, we have an everlasting bond, a connection that cannot be broken – even when we are thousands of miles away. Although we cannot share every single detail about our lives like we could before, she was, and forever will be, a defining part of me.

This struggle of finding my niche in a brand new community was hard. My niche had always been my twin. If I couldn’t find a friend to go to the soccer game with or just someone to talk to, Jill was always there.

But I know I’m not the only one experiencing twin separation. Freshman Margaret McKenna also struggled adjusting to going to a college without her twin. She said it’s difficult to hear about her sister’s college experiences and not being able to know any of her new friends. I think this lack of knowing is one of the most frustrating things because as twins, you spend most of your time together and understand almost everything about each other. So when this relationship is moved to separate college settings, it becomes very distant.

With no one to turn to, I was fortunate enough to have a roommate who welcomed me with open arms from day one. My floormates have also been a monumental help in making this transition easy. Technology has been especially helpful, allowing my sister and me to stay in touch.

I know I am always going to miss my sister whether we’re separated by one town or a thousand miles. But luckily, I have a community like Marquette that has allowed me to start a new chapter in my life. It has allowed me to find a niche filled with new friends and fellow students that make up the Marquette family I have gratefully joined.

Claire Delman, Freshman,
College of Communication
claire.delman@marquette.edu