Becca Lewis '08 had a feeling that she would attend the same college as her twin sister, Lottie.
I think I kind of knew we would end up at the same school," Becca said. "You spend 18 years together and I guess I just knew it wasn't over yet."
Next semester will be their longest separation to date when Becca studies abroad in New Zealand and Lottie studies in England.
"It's going to be tough," Lottie said.
The Lewis sisters are certainly not alone in wanting to go to school with their twin. The Orient identified eight sets of twins on campus and spoke with six of them. All said having their twin at school with them made the transition to a new environment more relaxed.
"It made the adjustment to college easier," said Mike Larochelle '08, whose twin brother Nick said they sometimes take for granted the benefits of attending school together. Both applied to Bowdoin early decision, and Nick said that the possibility of one getting in and not the other "was something we avoided talking about."
First-year Rachael Norton agreed, saying that having her sister Emily here has been beneficial, especially considering the two are far from their home in West Virginia.
"I'm a little homesick," she said. "I mean I would be more homesick if Emily weren't here."
Linda Kreamer, senior associate dean of admissions, said in an email to the Orient that Bowdoin does not have an admissions policy on twins, but since decisions are considered by high school "we would be aware of how the applications of twins compare to each other."
"In general, I would say that applicants who are twins are considered independently, and I believe there have been times when we made two different decisions," she wrote.
That doesn't seem to stop twins from applying to the same schools, even though some said they never planned on going to the same college. For several sets of twins, Bowdoin just ended up being both of their top choices.
Chris and Matt Antoun '05, however, said it was unlikely that they would have separated.
"We really never expressly decided [we would go to the same college], though we never really imagined being at different schools," Matt said.
"We've only done things separately a few times in life," said Chris. "There have only been a few occasions when we've been forced into diverging paths."
The Lord twins, both first years, were prepared to split up, as Shavonne was set to apply early decision to Bowdoin and Sarah to Middlebury.
"I knew that I wanted to go to school with Sarah, and she was kind of on the fence about it," Shavonne said. "She wasn't sure if she wanted to be independent of me."
But the night before her Middlebury application was due, Sarah had a change of heart.
"I just woke up in the middle of the night and decided I just really wanted to go to Bowdoin," Sarah said. "We both ended up applying early."
Though the Lords ended up going to the same school, they have taken different paths at Bowdoin. Shavonne plays field hockey and softball, and Sarah will run track in the spring.
"It's almost better this way, because we don't do the same things here so it's like we can be completely independent, but if we need each other we're also right here," Sarah said.
The Lords seem to be the exception, however. Most of the twins at Bowdoin said they participate in at least some of the same activities: the Lewis twins are both active in the Bowdoin Outing Club and tutor in the America Reads program; Tim and Chris Cashman '07 are in the same band; Mike and Nick Larochelle '08 play on the same intramural sports teams; the Antouns DJ a radio show together called Radio Blue and Red (Chris is DJ Blue and Matt is DJ Red).
Some also are studying the same subjects and end up taking classes together. The Cashmans are both biochemistry majors, though Tim has a double major in history and Chris has a minor in film studies. The Larochelles are both biology majors, and the Antouns are both computer science majors and Asian studies minors. They have taken all of the same courses since the second semester of their sophomore year.
"Some professors are pretty quick with [telling us apart], but others we've had for years still can't," said Matt.
"If people address us by name, they usually have it right," said Chris.
All the twins said they see each other at least once a day and eat a good deal of their meals together. Most live together as well, at least on the same floor, and have the same group of friends.
"We're similar people so we ended up having the same friends," Lottie Lewis said, who lives in the same quad as her sister in Howard.
"Freshman year we tried distinctively to get to know different people," Chris Cashman said, "but then those two different groups of people kind of merged."
Tim Cashman said Chris is similar enough to him that his friends would most likely be Chris's friends, too.
"We've never had a situation where one of us has a friend and the other one doesn't like him at all," Tim said. "We pretty much always like the same people or don't like the same people."
Most of the twins seemed to blur the line between friends and siblings. The Larochelles, who have four other brothers, one of whom is a senior at Bowdoin, said they have a different kind of relationship at home in Bangor, Maine.
"Especially when our other brothers are around we're much more like brothers, but here we're more like best friends," said Nick Larochelle.
"In a sense, for us this is the standard," said Matt Antoun. "We've really got no idea what it's like not to be a twin."
Those who said they used to be competitive with their twin have worked out some of the tension since college.
The Cashmans, however, said they have never been competitive with each other.
"Our mom is a twin, not an identical one, just fraternal, so she knows what it's like to be a twin," said Chris. "She consciously tried to make sure we were never competing in the same things."
Becca Lewis said she and Lottie used to be competitive, but not anymore.
"Our academic paths are so different," she said.
The Lord twins have reached a similar place in their relationship.
"When we played field hockey together [in high school] we were both good, but Shavonne was the best player on the team," said Sarah. "I remember at first it was very hard, but eventually you just recognize that she has that and you have your own thing, and it doesn't really matter."
While the Antouns said "there's no tension," they did admit to coming to blows one time over something trivial.
"Chris claims he won, but someone ended up with a broken rib and it wasn't me," Matt said.
However, going to school with a sister or brother is not for every set of twins. Senior Kate Halloran's twin brother is at Bates, which she feels is best for them.
"It was really important for us to separate and form our own identities for the first time," she said.
She said that she and her brother are close and talk about two or three times a week and visit each other about once every two months.
"I can understand for comfort reasons wanting to go to the same school," Halloran said, but she added that by college they were ready to have their own space.
"I personally don't see the appeal after 18 years of living together," she said.
Halloran does agree with the other twins on campus that being a twin becomes a part of your identity.
"It's a little thing that people have. 'Oh, you're a twin? I'm a twin, too!' It's a little connection," Tim Cashman said.
And while the Lords said they always identify first as sisters and then clarify by saying they are twins, Shavonne noted that there is a special bond between them.
"It's more than just a sister-sister relationship. Sometimes I know exactly what she's thinking and I don't have to ask," she said. "It's above the normal level that other siblings would have. It amazes me. Sometimes when we break out and say the same thing, I still laugh."