NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – When starting college for the first time, many students like to see at least one familiar face as they enter this new stage of their lives. For eight Bethel College students, this came in the form of a twin sibling.
“We always knew we were going to go to the same college,” says Brittney Moral, sophomore from Ulysses and twin sister of Brandi Moral. “I don’t think we ever thought about not going to the same college.”
“It’s cool to have a twin because you have a best friend with you all the time,” Brandi says. “And we share all the same clothes.”
In fact, Brandi and Brittney share so much, they decided to be roommates upon entering college.
“At first we thought about doing the college thing and getting new roommates,” Brandi explains. “But we have way too much stuff that we share.”
Being identical twins, the Morals are often mistaken for one another.
“Some people think they can tell us apart,” Brittney says. “I have a freckle on my chin, and Brandi has a larger nose – those are probably the main things. Sometimes we’ll even mix each other’s names up because we’re so used to it.”
Both Morals play on the Bethel women’s basketball team and regularly befuddle members of the opposing team.
“It’s the funniest thing in basketball,” Brittney says. “The other team always gets confused when they’re figuring out who to guard.”
The Morals also have a habit of dressing alike without even planning it.
“We dress alike sometimes, but not always on purpose,” Brittney says, and Brandi adds, “Sometimes she’ll step out [of the room] and then I’ll put on the same outfit.”
“And then we’ll argue for like ten minutes about who has to change,” Brittney says.
“We’re like every other sister and brother,” Brandi says. “We know how to get each other angry, but it’s usually only over little things.”
“You’ve just got to take advantage of what God gives you,” Brittney says.
Another pair of identical twins on the Bethel campus is seniors David and Jesse Mueller from Halstead. Unlike the Morals, their decision on where to attend college was not a joint one.
“I definitely didn’t come because David did,” says Jesse. “But him being here wasn’t a detriment, either.”
“Our other friends coming here were a bigger influence than each other,” David adds. “But it wasn’t really an incentive or a deterrent.”
“We have a similar group of friends,” Jesse explains.
“We usually get along, so it’s not like we had a great reason to get away from each other,” David says. “I don’t feel like I do anything to distinguish myself, but people around us a moderate amount see a difference.”
Like the Morals, the Muellers compete alongside each other in sports on the Bethel football and track teams. They are also both majoring in math education.
“Athletes are sort of grouped up together, so we fell into the same categories,” Jesse says.
In addition to the Muellers and the Morals, a third pair of identical twins, seniors Dana and David Daugharthy from Iola, also attend Bethel. Both are on the football team and live in the same mod. Dana, a chemistry major, has competed for several years in debate and forensics. David is majoring in physics with a particular interest in astronomy. He also competes in javelin on Bethel’s track and field team.
While the Morals, Muellers and Daugharthys may be the most obvious pairs of twins on campus, a fourth pair also exists: fraternal twins Audra and Julia Miller, freshmen from Hesston.
Like the Muellers, the Millers say their decisions to come to Bethel were made independent of one another.
“It wasn’t a joint decision at all,” Julia says.
Both Millers, graduates of Hesston High School, say they are used to being around family members at school.
“Our parents were both teachers at our high school,” Julia says. “Our whole family was in school together.”
Both Audra and Julia are involved in forensics, Women’s Chorus, Theater Practicum, drama and the spring opera.
“It’s as close to unconditional love as you can get,” Audra says.
While they get along well as sisters, both agree that it can be difficult to distinguish themselves from one another – even as fraternal twins.
“It can be hard to create your own identity,” Audra explains.
“Even though we’re fraternal twins, people still get our names mixed up,” Julia says. “The second people find out you’re twins, you’re a unit. Our favorite question is: ‘Are you identical twins?’ But it’s also nice because you’ve always got a best friend.”
Audra and Julia note that when they came to Bethel, it took people a few weeks to figure out that they were twins.
“It’s a game we like to play – to see how long it takes people to figure it out,” Julia says.
Though they enjoy the sisterhood of being twins, the Millers say they are far from being the same person.
“We have pretty different personalities,” Audra says. “We have a lot of the same interests, but personality goes into it a lot.”
“We like each other. We get along. We’re different people,” Julia says.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.