Identical Twins at CMC: Myths, Truths and Stories

I’m going to let you in on a secret: twins aren’t telepathic. If you pinch or hit one twin, the other won’t feel it. If one twin gets in a car accident or has knee surgery, the other twin won’t feel a sudden rush of pain. It may sound like I’m joking, and maybe I am, but I am compelled to write this because people ask twins questions about telepathy ALL THE TIME. Now that I have addressed the elephant in the room, I can begin to talk about twins at CMC. As I’m sure many of you are aware, there is an absurd amount of twins at CMC. There are three sets of twins in the class of 2013, four in the class of 2014, and it seems like every other weekend I find out that someone else I know has a twin. While none of us, sadly, have the ability to read each other’s minds, having a twin remains quite a unique experience. It means shared birthdays, always having someone your age to hang out with growing up and constant competition. Every set of twins shares the aforementioned experiences as well as many others, but I chose to focus on a less common subset of twins, identical twins. Identical twins share the same DNA, and make up only about 0.3% of the total population. Because I am an identical twin, I was interested to compare and contrast our experiences.

I talked to four sets of identical twins at CMC: Colin and Jonathan Briskman ‘14, Chad and Joe Newbry ’14, Andrew and Stephen Langdon ’13, and Catherine (myself) and Julia Raney ’13. Melissa Carlson ’13 is also an identical twin, but her twin does not go to CMC.

Wait! Before you read the Q and A’s, I need to tell you another secret:  While twins feel compelled to be “good” at telling other twins apart, we struggle at first just like everyone else. What I mean is that it’s possible that I quoted the wrong twin...

Why did you decide to go to school together or not? Are you happy about your decision?

Collin Briskman: This was our favorite place. I think it worked out. Going to college is already a pretty different experience, so it has been nice to have something that’s constant.

Joe Newbry: I wanted to go to school with Chad, and he kind of didn’t.

Chad Newbry: I was indifferent.

Joe Newbry: But it didn’t matter because we both got in.

Stephen Langdon: It was both of our first choice, but we decided separately.



Julia Raney: We were never really sure what we were going to do until the last minute. I’m happy we’re together though. We’re besties.

Melissa Carlson: My sister and I have polar interests.  If you took a whole human being and split them in half, one would be me and the other would be my sister. We decided to go to different schools that would best fit our different interests. We miss each other to death but ultimately it’s a good thing. We have both been able to develop our independent interests.

Any funny identical twin stories?

Jonathan Briskman: In high school sometimes we’d switch off pacing laps when we raced because it makes it easier

when you’re not leading the entire time.

Joe Newbry: Sometimes when I walk by a mirror and I don’t know it’s there, I think it’s my brother.

Stephen Langdon: Freshmen year we were both in the same class. I got called on to speak and I wasn’t there, so [Andrew] spoke for me. But then Andrew got called on to critique me.

Andrew Langdon: I didn’t say anything when the professor looked around the class for me.

Julia Raney: One time we spent a week with my friend’s grandma on a vacation. The next time we saw her grandma she started bragging that she could tell us apart now and then proceeded to mix us up. We felt bad so we went to the bathroom and changed so she wouldn’t find out.

Melissa Carlson: Sometimes my sister Alexa will call me and say, “Wow I look so ugly.” Thanks Alexa!

Do you ever have any identity crises?

Collin Briskman: We have to make sure we’re wearing different things all the time. Our parents always encouraged us todo different things. Because of our similar interests, we always want to do the same things.

Jonathan Briskman: We spend so much time together that I can see myself almost imitate him almost by accident.

Joe Newbry: One summer Chad was going to Costa Rica and I didn’t want to go just because he was going.

Chad Newbry: I didn’t know that was why you didn’t want to go.

Stephen Langdon: We make sure to get haircuts at different times.


Julia Raney: I remember one time someone asked me if I ever woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror, and thought I was Catherine. It was so ridiculous! We never get mixed up about who we are. It's other people who do that.

Melissa Carlson: I think it’s so weird when people don’t realize that I have this other person walking around that looks exactly like me. It’s strange because it’s just so normal to me.

After the interview, Stephen commented, “Maybe people will stop asking us twin questions,” then added, “I doubt it.”

While twin questions can be repetitive, as long as you come with some basic knowledge (i.e. no mind reading!), my experience as a twin and as a twin interviewer tell me that twins will be happy to talk. After all, don't we all love to talk about ourselves?