If college is a time for stamping out one’s identity, what does that mean for students who are always paired with someone else? These six twins, currently enrolled in TCNJ’s School of Business, have tackled this question, each in his own way.
Bryan Stewart ’11, an interdisciplinary business major, and Byron ’11, a marketing major, have embraced a close-knit relationship. “We do basically everything together,” Bryan said. “We grew up like that.”
While they acknowledge that not all twins are so close, the Stewarts’ relationship is an integral part of who they are as individuals. In high school, they applied to all the same colleges, figuring there would be nothing better than going to the same school, Bryan said. “We [figured we’d] help each other out. It’d just be like home, really.”
Still, the first year was a big change for the Stewart twins, who decided to room separately. “That was a new experience, but it was a great experience. We met more people,” Byron said.
Since sophomore year, though, the Stewarts have lived together off campus and grown together on campus. They’ve played club baseball and flag football together, and both are happily engaged with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Facing academic challenges is easier with a twin around, they said. “You have a support system,” Byron said, “I already have my brother with me.”
Most of the twins acknowledged the academic benefits of having their counterpart in many of the same classes. “Being in the same class definitely helps out as far as books are concerned,” Nicholas Masi ’10 (interdisciplinary business) said regarding he and his brother, Anthony ’10 (international business). “In classes where books aren’t ‘essential’ to the class, we tend to get away with sharing a book and splitting it.”
The pros of having a twin in his class are much the same as if he had a close friend in the class, Nicholas said. “I’d say the biggest benefit…is being able to have someone to go to when you’re stuck on something and don’t have any other options.”
Thomas ’10 and Robert Ventura ’10, both finance majors, admit the practical benefits of having a twin. “Academically, being a twin at TCNJ has given me support and helped me stay competitive,” Thomas said.
But as far as their wider personalities are concerned, the Ventura brothers have a more individualistic attitude. “Aside from [academics], we’re two different people that live different lives,” Thomas said. “We rarely hang out at school and most people don’t even realize we’re twins until they see us together. We’ve always separated ourselves to become different people.”
“In the past, we’ve always been viewed as a pair,” Robert said. “This has had its advantages as well as its fair share of disadvantages.”
This semester, the Ventura twins are studying abroad. Thomas is taking classes in Spain while Robert studies in London.
“I am actually really looking forward to some time apart from him,” Robert said. “It will be nice to have complete control over my identity for a change.”