Castleton students might do a double take these days when seeing a pair of students walking across campus. To the untrained eye, they look completely identical, but a closer look reveals subtle differences.Meet Bianka and Brittanie Nolan, identical twin sisters from Greenwich, N.Y. who came to Castleton State College this past fall.
“I was here first because of field hockey, but then when they saw Bianka, the team was like ‘holy cow we can’t tell the difference,'” said Brittanie.
Both girls played field hockey in high school, but Bianka tore her ACL her senior year and was not able to participate her first year here at Castleton.
When the Nolan sisters sat down to pick out colleges, they didn’t even consider going to the same school, especially Brittanie.
“I was planning on going to school separately,” Brittanie said. “I was sick of spending all my time with her, and in high school she always would copy my homework and I didn’t want her to do that anymore because she always got good grades because of me. I kinda wanted some freedom to do my own thing, and meet new people. But as you can see that didn’t happen.”
For Bianka, the decision to come to Castleton was easy.
“Since my sister and everyone applied, I thought hey, I didn’t really want to go away to school by myself my first year so I thought I’d apply. Also I wanted to go here because of field hockey too (before the ACL injury) and I liked how it was small and close to home because I wasn’t ready for a big school because I went to a small high school,” said Bianka.
As their first year went on, the dynamic in their relationship started to change.
“I don’t care anymore that we go to the same school. She is the only one I pretty much hang out with. I guess it worked out for the better,” said Brittanie.
Brittanie spends almost all her time in her sister’s dorm room, hardly ever sleeping in her own room. And nine times out of 10, when someone is looking for one twin, they find the other because they are always together. On a typical night, Brittanie positions herself on Bianka’s roommate’s bed and dances the night away to American Idol and Bianka lip synchs.
“I’d probably be pretty lonely if she wasn’t here. She is always in here. Since I don’t do anything, go to parties or anything, I would probably be pretty bored, and want to go home more than I do now,” said Bianka.
For another set of Castleton twins, the mindset is a lot different.
Trista and Tamara Gregory, soon to be graduates of Castleton, never envisioned going to college without each other.
“I pretty much just decided that it would be too weird to not go to the same school she went to. We have gone to school together our whole lives, and that is what we are used to,” said Tamara.
Trista echoed her sister’s comments.
“It was pretty much a very close relationship and a security thing that made me want her to be here. I saw Tamara every day of my life and the thought of not seeing her every day really bothered me. Whenever she wasn’t around, I literally felt like a part of me was somewhere else and it felt very uncomfortable. I would just feel kind of vulnerable and alone.”
But just because these twins go to school together doesn’t mean they can’t have their freedom. They can take different classes and live in different dorms, if they choose to. But somehow, these sets of twins all landed on some sort of common ground without even trying to.
“Our first couple of years here were completely different. I wanted to be a teacher and Trista was into forensics. Eventually we explored some health related classes and found that we were even more interested in that. So we both changed our majors to health science and have taken a lot of the same classes together,” said Tamara.
The Nolan sisters have taken several of the same classes, which undoubtedly keeps professors on their toes. And next year, they even plan to live together.
“No preference is given because they are twins. If they request to live together, then fine they live together. But we do not intentionally place them together or separate them. There is no category on the housing contract to say hey check here if your sibling goes here and you want to live with them,” said Christie Wilkerson, area coordinator for Babcock Hall.
The Nolans said they just decided that it made that much more sense to live together. And it does help that they share just about everything.
“Usually Bianka is really stingy and won’t let me wear anything,” said Brittanie.
“It’s just cause she takes things!” Bianka chimed in.
“It’s cause she’s stingy!” Brittanie shoots back.
But twins aren’t the only siblings to roam the Castleton campus. Numerous sets of siblings chose to come to the same college, all for different reasons. But the overall consensus was that having a sibling at school with you is a definite plus.
“It’s nice to have a sibling here to show me around and give advice about things like which teachers are good and what classes to take,” said first year Angelica Mazzola, whose older sister Francesca also goes to Castleton.
“Castleton was a great fit for me and I knew it would be for Anjay as well,” said big sister Francesca.
Senior Emma Harvey also pointed out positive points about her younger brother coming to CSC.
“It’s nice to just be able to run into each other on campus. We get along really well and actually have a few of the same friends,” she said.
Castleton State College is a tight knit community and is known as being its own family. Little did many know just how many same-family students are on campus. Most students choose to go away to college to escape their home lives, and start fresh, but for some students, a piece of home in the form or a sibling helps make college the best time of their lives.
“I think a lot more twins are a lot closer than we are. It’s cause we weren’t wicked close when we were younger. I don’t love her like I love my mom. But we definitely don’t argue as much now since going to school together,” said Bianka.
“I love her just like a sister should,” Brittanie said.
The bond has always been tight for the Gregory twins, and remains so at Castleton.
“We have never been apart for more than a day or two in our lives, and we are about to turn 22 years old. So our connection is pretty strong,” Tamara added.
“It kind of made college a smoother, easier transition because I had someone to go through it with me,” said Trista.