What’s It Like Being a Twin? Four NDA twin-sets tell it like it is!


The Otto twins, Keeli and Gabby, seniors at Notre Dame.

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

According to a study by The Twin Project at the University of Texas at Austin, 3% of the people in the world are twins. According to an unofficial study calculated in 8th period by two Tritonian staff members, 3% (that’s approximately 22 out of 800, if you were wondering) of the students at Notre Dame Academy are also twins. (Then, of course, there are the Druar triplets.)

Hearing the word “twins” often conjures up thoughts of telepathic connections and the famous Siamese brothers. However, the reality is, for most of those that were interviewed, twins are about as similar as any pair of siblings would be. There are certainly similarities, but the personalities are often fundamentally different.

Several sets of twins were interviewed to offer a first-hand perspective to the intricacies in these unique relationships.

The Witmer twins, freshmen at Notre Dame.
The Witmer twins, freshmen at Notre Dame.


Ryan Ehlinger, junior (of his fraternal twin sister): “Well, some of the obvious advantages are Maria and I share all our clothes, can switch places with each other and no one can tell, and I only have to do half of my homework.  Some less obvious ones are that I always have someone I know most places I go.”

Maria Ehlinger, junior: “You always have someone your age with you wherever you go. It was especially nice when we moved to a new state and started a new school. You can work on homework together, which helps a lot! It is also fun to share the same birthday and other events.”

Elisabeth Lasecki, junior (fraternal twin with Nic):  “We can collaborate and work together, and we can always have someone to talk to. Twins have a connection that is not present nearly anywhere else.”

Keeli Otto, senior: One advantage of being a twin is that I know that someone will always be able to understand how I feel in a certain situation. Gabby and I can just look at each other and automatically know what the other one is thinking.”  

Gabby Otto, senior: Everywhere I go I get to bring my best friend with me. It’s really great when I need someone to talk to about family and friends that is experiencing the exact same thing as me. Having Keeli around really helps me express myself and my emotions.”

Madi Polack, sophomore: In all honesty, there are many advantages of being a twin. First, I have many guy friends because I am so close to my brother’s friends. Second, I have a boy’s fashion advice (of my own age) in the house. If I ask him if my outfit is good, he is straight up with me. He either says it looks good or I just look downright ugly. Third, I have someone to study with or help me when I am in trouble.”

Max Polack, sophomore: “My whole life I have been lucky enough to have grown up with a best friend that I will have for the rest of my life.”



Ryan Ehlinger: Maria has a nasty habit of stealing all my friends, and my parents generally favor her.”

Maria Ehlinger: People are always comparing you to your twin.”

Elisabeth Lasecki: “People often expect us to be the same. We are still two individual people with individual interests. The other disadvantage is that we often do not have much time apart.  For example, our lockers are right next to each other, and, like any siblings, we fight, a lot.”

Keeli Otto: Often, people group Gabby and me into one person. I understand that for some people it can be hard to tell us apart, but sometimes it can be bothersome if people are unwilling to take the time to get to know us as individuals.”

Gabby Otto: Since Keeli and I spend so much time together, we get annoyed with each other daily. But since we are stuck together, it’s never taken long for us to get over it. To be honest, I’m pretty sure we’ve never really fought with one another.”

Madi Polack: “This may sound weird, but it is hard to date people without being weird and awkward because of your brother. It takes some getting used to. Also, there is quite a bit of fighting. My parents and friends say we fight like a married couple.”  

Max Polack: “Although we may fight a lot, we are always there for each other and seem to know what one another is feeling. Definitely I would have to say the advantages outweigh the bad.”


COMPETITIONThis is the section with the greatest variety in responses. Some families tend to be more competitive than others, and this is reflected in the answers here. In addition, this was the section with the most variation between the sets of twins’ answers–that is, one twin saying they’re not competitive and the other saying they were.

Ryan Ehlinger: I rarely feel like I am in competition with my twin. We used to be in school, but I gave up that a long time ago.”

Maria Ehlinger: [There is hardly any competition] because we are very different and interested in different things. Although we do get competitive with school sometimes.”

Elisabeth Lasecki: “Being in competition is just the name of the game. We are in competition about grades, sports, piano competitions, you name it, we’ve been compared by others or competed against each other. This competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We often make each other work harder because we are often compared.”

Keeli Otto: Being a twin definitely seems like a 24/7 competition at times when other people think that they know more about us than we do about ourselves. It was hard to distinguish Gabby and myself as one or the other when we were younger, and it seems that people find things like better grades or athleticism as something more tangible. I feel as though Gabby and I are always in competition, even if we don’t intend for it to be that way.”

Gabby Otto: Personally I don’t ever feel like I’m in a competition with my twin. I do think some people want us to be competitive with one another but we aren’t, and if we look like we are it is all in good humor. The only competition I think we have is with people. Some people seem to like Keeli more, or the opposite, and I’m okay with that because I know that everyone connects differently, and Keeli probably is able to connect to that person in a way I cannot.”

Madi Polack:  “We compete over everything… boyfriends/girlfriends, school, sports, who’s the favorite child, etc. However, a little competition can’t hurt.”

Max Polack: “Madi and I are always competitive with each other whether it be school, soccer, or other sports. Obviously she tries to compete but just can’t keep up… I mean I like to think so but we definitely have a competitive nature towards each other, always striving to push one another to be better in our academics and sports.”



Ryan Ehlinger: I suppose an assumption would be that we share homework. Maria never lets me cheat off of her.  She gets mad when I ask.

Maria Ehlinger: People always ask if we can read each other’s minds or know what each other is feeling. This is not true. People also think that twins are interested in the same things or have similar personalities, which is again not always the case.”

Elisabeth Lasecki: “Are you identical twins?  Well, I have a twin brother, and biologically, that isn’t possible. So, no, we are not identical.”

Keeli Otto: Some people think that twins are complete opposites, while others think that twins always have the same interests. Personally, it happens a lot that people assume that I am the older twin, when in reality Gabby is.”

Gabby Otto: EVERYONE, literally everyone, thinks that because we’re identical twins we are the same in every way. It’s definitely the most irritating thing about being a twin. To those who believe this about twins, it is definitely not true. I can love a book or a song and Keeli can hate it, same as every other person. Also some people think we have twin telepathy which I’m not entirely convinced is not true.”

Madi Polack: “People always say that twins can read each other’s minds. I mean, sometimes I know what he is going to say, but I don’t really think that assumption is 100% true.”



Ryan Ehlinger: Having a friend you can always talk to.”

Maria Ehlinger: “You know you always have someone who has shared pretty much all the same experiences as you. Also, twins are not very common, so it is fun being one.”

Elisabeth Lasecki: “I always have someone to talk to. Even though we might fight, we’re also really close. We are always there to support each other at events. I try to go to as many cross country meets and tennis invites as I can, and he goes to most of my ballet performances.”

Keeli Otto: No matter where I go, my best friend is always there with me. Gabby and I have similar friends and interests, so it makes it easy for us to get along with each other.”

Gabby Otto: Always having someone to talk during a movie with. Most people get annoyed with it, but Keeli and I work like that.”

Madi Polack: “We have such a close bond. Max is truly my best friend, and I know everything about him… almost too much!”

Max Polack: “No matter what path we choose I know that we will keep in touch and still remain best friends.”



Keeli: Gabby and I always used to switch classes when we were younger on April Fool’s Day, and to this day one of our former teachers still calls Gabby, Keeli. By the time April Fool’s rolled around, most teachers can finally tell us apart. Then, on our first day freshman year, I walked into Mr. Bobinski’s classroom, and he looked at me with a confused expression and asked me, “Didn’t I already have you first hour?” Trust me, it was pretty awkward being called out as a freshman in a sophomore class. For some teachers, though, having twins in class doesn’t even phase them.”

Gabby: Keeli and I used to switch places for April Fool’s Day in elementary school. In fourth grade, the teacher caught on right away and tricked me into thinking I had a presentation to do that day. I’m also pictured as Keeli in a class picture from that day. In fifth grade, our teacher didn’t notice at all and even called me Keeli. To this day she calls me Keeli when she sees me by myself. Sadly I have not switched places with Keeli since then, but maybe we should bring it back for April Fool’s Day this year? Also, Senora Dory is trying to get us to switch for graduation, but my mom might not like that.”  

And Notre Dame's one set of triplets, Wyatt, Wade and Nadine Druar.
And Notre Dame’s one set of triplets, Wyatt, Wade and Nadine Druar.