For some, coming to college means a new setting with new people, while others get to take a piece of home with them by going to the same school as their twin.
Noah Levine, ‘23, and his identical twin Max Levine, ‘23, have been confronted by many identity confusions during the start of their college careers.
“I have to explain to people every day that I’m not someone else, so that’s annoying,” Noah said.
He also noted the benefits of having his brother around.
“I think that a lot of people who don’t have a sibling can’t really talk about themselves with anyone for the first few weeks of school until they start to get close with people,” Noah said. “Having someone that you’re already close with helps.”
The Levines both applied early decision to Lehigh. They said they also coincidentally live on the same floor of their residence hall, so they end up seeing each other almost every day.
Noah said being linked to another person has its benefits, but it can also not be ideal for every situation.
“We planned to not have class together, so if (Max’s) reputation gets harmed, it’s not going to affect me,” he said.
A set of triplets, Katie McNulty, ’22, Kevin McNulty, ’22 and Shaun McNulty, ‘22, all started their first year at Lehigh in the same first-year seminar class.
“If we have overlapping professors, my fear is being compared to them,” Shaun said. “I don’t want to be compared to how good my brother is, or I don’t want my brother and sister being compared to how good I am at one thing or another.”
The McNultys’ mother also works for Lehigh as a human resources associate. They said they do not see her often, since her office is not directly on campus.
The McNultys all lived in the same residence hall their first year, but now they are spread out around campus and don’t see each other as often, they said.
“It’s just natural for you guys not to see each other as often,” Kevin said. “It definitely changes over the course of the school year, but when you go home for summer or winter break, it just goes right back.”
Elizabeth and Caroline Tully ‘21, had not lived together previously at Lehigh, but are now for the first time. They are both finance majors and live in the Alpha Phi sorority house.
“I feel like we’ve gotten closer, and if we hadn’t gone to the same school, I’d just be calling her all the time,” Caroline said.
Caroline also said she felt more comfortable having her twin sister at the same school when they first entered college because she knew she already had someone who would have her back when she didn’t know many people yet.
Elizabeth said she and her sister have similar personalities and tend to gravitate toward the same things, which is why they both liked and applied early decision to Lehigh.
Melissa and Michelle Shaw-Patino, ‘20, are two of three triplets in their family enrolled at Lehigh. Michelle applied early decision, and Melissa applied regular decision later in the application process. Melissa said Michelle was upset when she was accepted to Lehigh because Michelle wanted to go to college by herself.
Their other sister, Matti, attends a different college. Michelle had gone to the same high school as Matti, while Melissa went to a different high school, which gave her the independent experience that Michelle was seeking in college.
The three sisters have a tradition of celebrating Lehigh-Lafayette together which they are looking forward to, and Melissa said Matti wishes she transferred to Lehigh.
“I think it was really nice that (Michelle and I) were together at Lehigh because it was just like something we’ve never experienced before and it was nice just having that one other person,” Melissa said.
Twins Kyle and Ryan Burke, ‘22, have strived to find a balance between a close relationship and independence.
“I like the way our relationship is now — we definitely wanted to branch out a little bit in college but we didn’t want to completely ignore each other,” Kyle said. “We are able to be good friends with each other now but have our own lives still.”
Ryan said he likes the idea that he can always go to his brother for advice and support.
“It’s one thing to call your parents and talk to them, but actually seeing someone face to face all the time is a lot better,” he said.