Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011 03:12
Kimberly and Caroline Garity (COL '12) always knew that they wanted to go to the same college. Dave Nulsen (SFS '12), however, fought with his twin brother when he realized that Pete (COL '12) too had fallen in love with Georgetown.
The Garitys and the Nulsens, along with other twins on the Hilltop, share a unique experience with its own joys and challenges.
Although Annie and Bonnie Yan (MSB '14) are not identical twins, each is often mistaken for the other, perhaps because their clothes match every day. According to the twins, Annie picks both of their outfits for the day.
"I'm really bad at deciding stuff, even what to wear," Bonnie says. "[Annie]'s my personal stylist."
"It got to the point that Bonnie's fashion sense was just horrendous," Annie says. "So she decided to copy what I was wearing. I just buy two of everything. Buy one, get one free deals are just meant for us."
At one point, the Yans even shared a Facebook account.
"We used to have an ‘AnnieBonnie Yan' [profile that we] shared since eighth grade, but we split the summer before college because I thought people would think it was weird. But they found it anyway," Annie says.
Although the Yan twins dress alike, live together, are both pre med and have the same major (finance and international Business), they weren't always sure that they would or should attend the same college.
"I wouldn't say we purposely tried to go to the same college or different college," Annie says. But in the end, the pair applied to the same 19 colleges and received the same responses.
"When we went into the college admission process, I thought it would be fine if we didn't go to the same school," Bonnie says. "But after we came to Georgetown, I was so thankful that she was with me."
But the pair has had their share of awkward encounters, too.
"In elementary school they put us in different classes," Bonnie says. "In first grade, one of my classmates was talking to me and she went out to go to the bathroom, and apparently Annie had just come out of the bathroom. She came screaming back into the classroom saying ‘Bonnie! Bonnie, I saw your ghost outside!' My teacher had to calm her down."
More recently, during one late night in the Leavey Center, the Yan twins were hugged by a stranger who said he had never met Asian twins before.
Even their family members occasionally confuse them. "Our father has definitely punished the wrong twin," Annie says.
Because the two lead such an intertwined life, they're often criticized by those who don't know them. "When we were in high school, people got offended that we dressed alike," Bonnie says.
But Annie explains that their shared characteristics are an important part of their identities.
"I can't try to be different from her because then I wouldn't be myself," she said. "People wanted us to be unique, but we share similar interests, so if I tried to be different, I wouldn't be me."
Kimberly and Caroline, identical twins from Los Angeles, have always been close. "I always say, ‘Yes, we are those twins,'" Caroline says.
They don't remember ever discussing whether or not they'd separate after college.
"I think it was always assumed that we'd go to the same school," Kimberly says.
The duo also decided to live together their freshman year.
"Freshman year we thought it would be nice to have a home away from home, together, since we were moving so far away," Kimberly says. "We didn't want to risk coming and each having a bad roommate." The situation was especially convenient because Kimberly and Caroline share most of their clothes. They own only one of each item, though, so they never match.
"In high school we were known as the Garity Girls," Caroline says. "But then we got here, and I just assumed that everybody knows I have a twin. But that wasn't always the case."
The pair often find themselves returning the smiles and greetings of people they don't know, assuming that the person is a friend of their sister. Though the Garitys now walk around smiling at almost everyone, it took time for them to adjust to these frequent, awkward encounters.
"The worst is when it happens with professors," Kimberly says. "The first time it happened, it was freshman year. It was my professor, but Caroline saw her and she didn't even smile, because she didn't know that person at all. Later on in the class I had mentioned I was a twin, and my professor said, ‘Oh, that's why you were so rude to me.'"
Like the Yans, The Garity twins have met criticism for their decision to live together and pursue similar interests; both are co-captains of GU Irish Dancing, art history minors and studied abroad at Georgetown's Villa Le Balze.
"Whenever I say I'm a twin, people always ask if my twin goes here, and I always say yes. And they immediately say, ‘You don't live together, right?' You get a lot of criticism for that," Kimberly says.
The Garity twins said they can often predict these kinds of reactions.
"People always feel the need to state their opinion on whether or not they would want to be a twin," Caroline says. "They'll say, ‘Oh, I would hate that.' Thanks."
The Nulsens, fraternal twins from St. Louis Park, Minn., took the opposite approach. Not only did they live in separate dorms freshman year, but Dave stopped talking to Pete for a few days when his brother revealed that he intended to pick the same college.
"I was selfish enough in high school to think that Georgetown was my school," Dave says.
But the anger didn't last long. "A couple weeks later we realized there was a lot of positive that could come from this," Pete says.
Once the brothers arrived on the Hilltop, they worked hard to forge separate identities, but slowly their lives merged. Now, they live in two connected houses.