When Twins Choose Colleges 800 Miles Apart



My twin girls, Darian and Addy, now 19-years-old and in their sophomore year of college, have
always been best friends. They started strong as toddlers, speaking in what can only be
described as twinspeak, a language only the two of them could understand. Taking vacations
through the elementary years seemed easier for us than other families with children of
different ages and genders. My girls always had a built-in best friend to do the fun activities

Gaining Independence

By middle school, they began spreading their wings. After moving them to a new private school,
they decided they wanted their own friend groups. The middle school years were their time to
be independent and create their own friendships. Parenting became more challenging – there
were sleepovers with different groups, separate birthday parties. Every activity seemed to
require a bit more effort from mom and dad.

Coming Back together

By the time they reached high school, their friend groups had morphed and merged into one
larger group. Throughout most of high school, the twins hung out with the same group of eight
girls. Some girls would float out for a while, and then return, as teenage girls do. But my girls
were steady at the center of the group. True best friends. They attended special events in the
same group, went to parties together, attended summer camps together and had big
sleepovers with all their friends.

Even with their built-in friendship, I recognized that they were very different girls with very
different personalities. Maybe that adage about opposites attracting rings true, even in my
family. They were best friends despite their differences.

Applications for Colleges

Their dad and I were very curious how they would handle college application season. Would
they apply to the all the same colleges? Or were they so different that they wouldn’t have any
overlap? They were both academically comparable and both had full, well-rounded resumes.
We were excited to find out they were applying to most of the same schools. (Maybe one of
mom’s secret hopes would come true, and they would attend the same college.)

They applied to almost all the same schools, with a few exceptions. When decision time came,
mom’s hope of them attending the same college was dashed. They chose the exceptions.
Darian ended up at the University of Texas at Austin, and Addy at Samford University in
Birmingham, Alabama. For the first time ever, they were going to separate. And not just a little
– they were going to be 800 miles apart.

New Territory

As parents, we began worrying about what different colleges meant for holidays (they had
different spring breaks for the first time ever), college move-in and move-out (they both started
on the same day so we had to juggle being in Austin and Alabama in the same week) and
graduations (will they graduate on the same day? Will mom and dad have to divide and

But the biggest concern was what this separation meant for their relationship. For the first time
ever, they wouldn’t see each other every day. And they didn’t have each other to fall back on
when they were feeling lonely.

Time Apart at Colleges

Freshman year move-in day came quickly. We moved Darian first to Austin so Addy came with
us and helped. Their long good-bye in front of Darian’s dorm filled all four of us with both
anxiety and excitement, and some tears were shed. A few days later, the three of us
caravanned for the 11-hour drive to Birmingham.

The girls were excited about their roommates, both the sweetest girls who became their first
college friends. I was thrilled to hear about them attending events with their roommates, and
about the twins reaching out to make friends in other ways. Addy joined a sorority. As our
extrovert, we weren’t surprised to see her reaching out. We were thrilled that our introvert,
Darian, joined a couple of campus clubs and organizations, even joining the outreach group for
one of them.

In the fall of their freshman year, my husband and I made trips to both cities and met their new
friends. We rented a condo for our visits and invited the new friends for a home-cooked meal.
Addy had six friends show up, Darian had five. I was so relieved to see them making new friends
in a way they never had to do before – completely on their own.

But those new friendships couldn’t completely fill the void of their best friendship, their twin
friendship. I was happy to learn that the girls talked every day. They each got to know their
sister’s new friends through Facetime conversations. They found a way to work through life
events together, on the phone and facetime instead of in person.

When Addy’s college Family Weekend occurred in late September. Darian hopped on a plane to
attend. When they both came home for Thanksgiving that first year, they hugged so long and
chattered away into the night.

New Challenges at Colleges

But then something odd happened. They started fighting like they never had when they were
under one roof. Dad and I were so confused. It was obvious they really missed seeing each
other in person, but they had a difficult time re-adjusting to being with each other 24/7. The
four of us were even up until 2am one night, trying to work through their issues. We sent them
back to college in a very different mindset than when they first headed off to college in August.
Things were not smooth sailing.

By the time Christmas break came around, they thankfully had worked it all out. They spent
tons of time together hanging out with high school friends and even going on sister dates. But
they were both ready to get back to their new lives at college when the time came.

Lessons Learned

The first year of college taught our whole family lots of new lessons. The best thing about our
twins being 800 miles apart is they found they learned they can do life on their own, with a
little support, and a phone with good cell service.


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