Double trouble: campus twins

Think you’re seeing double? Unless you’ve overindulged, you’re not. Double take – there really are two of them. I’m talking about twins on the Williams campus. I interviewed four sets of them about what it was like to go to school with a sibling in the same class year. Get ready for double the trouble – these twins are taking the College by storm!


John Damstra ’16 and Conrad Damstra ’16

John Damstra and Conrad Damstra have hardly ever been apart in their 18 years. They thought that might change when they chose colleges. “There was definitely this point in high school when we realized our interests were taking us in divergent directions,” John Damstra said. “I’m interested in economics and math. I want to become an academic. Conrad’s main interest is philosophy. He wants to become a lawyer.” Independently though, they both wound up choosing Williams. “I was mentally preparing for the separation,” Conrad Damstra said. “It would have been fine if [John] had gone to another college, but I’m really glad he’s here with me. He’s my best friend.” Despite valuing the support of having a twin at the College, both boys articulated a desire for a separate life. “Sometimes I do think of us as a unit, but I also think of myself as Conrad, a separate person, not just the brother of John, growing up into the same person he’s going to be,” Conrad Damstra said.

Amber Penny ’15 and Alina Penny ’15

Amber Penny and Alina Penny had a similar story to tell about choosing Williams. “We’d gone to school together our entire lives, but we both agreed that whatever we wanted to do for college would be fine. But we just fell in love with everything here and were blessed enough to both get in,” Alina Penny said. The Penny twins explained that even though they look very much alike, they’re actually fraternal twins.  At the College, the Penny twins are treated more as a unit than they were in high school. “We didn’t realize we were so much alike until we came here. We have our own identities, but here it’s like people think we have some kind of twin telepathy, which would be awesome. But we don’t have that,” Amber Penny said. Alina Penny explained that despite many shared interests, their personalities are distinct. “She’s more reserved. A mother to everyone – very nurturing,” Alina Penny said. “And Alina’s bubbly, quirky … a random wild child!” Amber Penny said.

Mike Stone ’16 and Greg Stone ’16

Mike Stone and Greg Stone also are fraternal twins. “It’s so fun to have my brother at school,” Mike Stone said. “Literally no disadvantages. He’s my family member, but also my friend with his own life.” The Stone twins agreed that Williams was the place for them because they loved the people. However, their academic interests are very different. “He’s all excited about the sciences – biochemistry in particular. I don’t really like [science]. I’m more of your history and humanities kind of guy. I’m actually really surprised we wound up with a class together,” Mike Stone said. Their extracurricular activities also differ. Mike Stone plays golf, while Greg Stone does not. “He actually was going to try out for the team, but he didn’t at the last moment,” Mike Stone said.  The twins make an effort to hang out together at school. They enjoy living in their different entries but visit each other often. “We don’t hang out all the time, but it’s pretty often. Like if I ever have free time and he doesn’t have work, we’ll chill together,” Mike Stone said.

Ladd Hamrick ’13 and Hill Hamrick ’13

Ladd Hamrick and Hill Hamrick also spend a lot of time together as members of the football team. “It’s always difficult to explain to people that we’re two separate people because we look alike, go to the same school, play on the same team,” Hill Hamrick said. “We didn’t even intend to go to the same school, but because we both were interested in playing football and wanted a great school with small classes, we ended up here.” The Hamrick twins made an effort to have their own spaces at the College: Ladd Hamrick requested to live in Frosh Quad, and Hill Hamrick, Mission. “Initially, I was a little upset because I wanted us to branch out more, but it wasn’t worth not going to my top choice school because my brother was going, and it would have made it so much harder for my dad because he’d have to choose whose [football] game he would come watch,” Ladd Hamrick said. At the College, some people don’t even know they’re twins. “In high school, you couldn’t talk about one of us without the other. But we worked to not have that happen here,” Hill Hamrick said.

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