Seeing double? Nope, they’re just twins

Getting to know 2000 new faces at the beginning of college is hard enough, but it’s even more problematic when your twin is also on campus. Sure, it’s nice to have family support in college, but sometimes it just gets downright annoying when you’re constantly mistaken for your twin.

“People get us mixed up all the time,” Jordan Hollander ’10 said. “There’s always someone who will yell the wrong name across the quad. But usually I just let it go because I’ve stopped caring. It’s not worth it.”

But his brother Adam Hollander ’10 disagreed. “I usually correct people,” he said. “Sometimes I will ignore it a couple of times, but I end up correcting people because it’s still annoying.”

Getting mistaken for his twin is hardly new to either of the Hollander brothers, and they definitely expected it to continue in college. So why did they decide to go to the same school?

“We were originally going to separate schools,” Adam Hollander said. “I applied to WashU, but then I realized I didn’t want to go there. I thought that just because [Jordan] was also going [to Williams] was not good enough of a reason for me to not [come here].”

Alum Dominique Mack ’07 had a similar experience. She initially settled on another college, but realized that Williams was the place she wanted to be, although her twin sister Alyssa Mack ’07 was already planning to attend. Dominique Mack had Amherst’s matriculation letter ready, but two days before it was due in the mail, the decision didn’t settle with her. “So I tossed it, filled out the Williams one, mailed it in and here I am now, a Williams alum. I guess I could sense the Amherst evil back then,” she said.

For Joshua Wilson ’11 and Johannes Wilson ’11, going to college together played a much bigger role in their decision: they went into the process wanting to go to the same school.

“It was natural for us [to want to go to the same college], since we went to different high schools,” Joshua Wilson said, looking toward his brother, Johannes. He paused for a second and asked, “Hold on a second, why did we want to go to the same college?”

“I guess it is because we are really close,” Johannes Wilson replied.

Close is an understatement. After living together for over 18 years, going to the same college just wasn’t enough for the brothers: the two decided to continue sharing a room.

“We requested to be roommates because we figured it would be easier to adjust,” Johannes Wilson said. “With all the stuff going on, I didn’t want to worry about having an annoying roommate. It’s not that he has been perfect – he has been annoying, but I am used to him.”

“Yeah, I can take as much out on him as I’d like,” Joshua Wilson said, jokingly.

Unlike the Wilsons, the Hollander brothers decided to branch out.

“Last year I actually never saw [Adam] except at swim practice. But for some reason I see him a lot more this year,” Jordan Hollander said. “We didn’t really hang out at all once we were here.”

Chris Law ’10 doesn’t regularly hang out with his twin, Matt Law ’10, either, but he sees both positive and negative outcomes from having his brother at Williams.

“If I need to borrow a calculator or a belt some day, it’s always handy to have someone you don’t mind stealing it from,” Chris Law said. “But it is a bit hard to preserve your individuality when you’re permanently associated with someone else. The conversational thread gets a bit old sometimes, too.”

“It gives you some sort of notoriety, but at the same time, you begin to have the same conversations over and over with people when the epiphany ultimately happens and they realize, ‘Oh man, you two look alike!’” Matt Law said. “Plus, you always get people saying ‘hi’ to you as you walk to class, and you’re never quite sure if you actually know them. Sometimes I just play along. We’re fraternal, not identical, but still a lot of people confuse us.”

Joshua and Johannes Wilson viewed their situation in a more positive light. For them, it was not only beneficial to have one set of everything ranging from a computer to shampoo, but it was also helpful to always have a familiar face nearby.

“I remember looking at the folders during First Days and being so intimidated by all the forms and papers. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my brother,” Joshua Wilson said. “We just worked off of each other. I’d talk it out with him and we would remind each other of things we had to do.”

Helping each other didn’t end with First Days for the Wilson brothers, as it continued into first semester when the pair shared three classes. Having common interests was a main part of it, they said.

On the flip side, Dominique and Alyssa Mack had completely different academic pursuits and campus activities. Alyssa majored in political science and Chinese, and was a member of Sankofa. Dominque studied English and Africana studies, and played women’s rugby. The two never took a class together until senior spring when they both audited art history 102.

The Wilsons realize that the time they spend together makes it difficult for others to tell them apart. The brothers also acknowledge the fact they may not be branching out as much as they could. Still, they are not willing to give up each other’s company. After all, the twins have grown up together and proclaim to be best friends.

“We are best friends,” Johannes Wilson said. “Sometimes we’ll fight for like 10 minutes, but it never lasts long because we get along so well. It’s a mutually supportive relationship.”

“You make it sound like we are married,” Joshua Wilson said.

Married or not, the Wilson brothers find having their twin on campus to be a more positive outcome. As Joshua Wilson said, “It’s nice to have a best friend since before you are born.”