Separating Our Identical Paths

Growing up as an identical twin, I always had somebody to interact with. My twin and I had similar friends, jobs, and hobbies. While we had our own separate interests, we both played soccer, refereed, and hung out in the same friend group. Wherever we went in public, we would receive the “deer caught in the headlights” look.

After people realized that we are actually twins and they were not literally seeing double or hallucinating, they begin to start asking us questions: Are you the evil twin? Which one is older? If I pinch you, does the other feel it?

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The color neon

It has been two weeks since I got back from my journey to the Appalachia Region, specifically Neon, Kentucky.  Neon is about an 9 hour drive from Saint Joe’s campus (12 hours counting all of the pit stops).

As a freshman, I was very reluctant to sign up for the Appalachian Experience (APEX), because I did not know what to expect, I had never done a service retreat to that high of an extent, and I was not sure if I could handle more time away from my family and friends back at home.  

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Of Family and Funny: The Story of SJU Improv

By: Justin C. Russell

How do you see your foundation when the top of the building crumbles? How do you feel pride when faced with disappointment and embarrassment? How do you remember the laughs when surrounded by silence?

It was a chilly January morning when the SJU Improv team was voted out in the first round of the National College Improv Tournament in Philadelphia. In a Shake Shack on Sansom Street, the rowdy group of performers ranging from sorority girls to Division 1 Athletes, sat reading the judges’ critiques.

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“Lookin’ for a home in the heart of the country.”

– Paul McCartney, ‘Heart of the Country’

Spring break is only five days away. Last year at this time, I was thrilled over the idea of heading home, hanging out with my family, indulging in home-cooked meals, sleeping for outrageous spans of time, and watching every movie I could think of starring Jeff Goldblum.

This time last year, I was also envious of my freshman classmates who were zealously planning and packing to go on APEX. For those who don’t know, APEX is a common abbreviation for the Appalachian Experience, a program that allows St. Joe’s students to volunteer in the Appalachian region during spring break.

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“Everybody seems to think I’m lazy. I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy.”

– The Beatles, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’

Friday night, 9:04 PM:

It is then that the cognitive dissonance sets in, filling my mind with conflicting thoughts and potential FOMO. My heart knows that I’m thoroughly craving curling up in my bed, smearing on an indulgent face mask, and reading a book or working on my writing. I want to listen to Bruce Springsteen and drink oolong tea.

I want to be alone.

But my head is screaming, “That’s not the college experience! You need to go out whenever you can and do everything!

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It is not like American Pie movies…

I am French, and when I told my friends that I was going to be a student at a U.S. university, they all jumped everywhere and started screaming OMG! OMG! OMG!

Some of the first questions were: Are you going to live with a bunch of people in a big house and party everyday? Are you going to be a cheerleader? Are you going to spend your spring break in Miami? Are you going to wear this black square hat and black dress when you graduate?

Well, this is half of the reality…

Not that nothing is fun being a student at a U.S.

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“I can count the people I care about on one hand.”

“I can count the people I care about on one hand.”

This was my catch-phrase in high school. I even wrote a song containing that lyric. Remarkably, five has remained my magic number at St. Joe’s. Discounting my family, there are five people in the world whom I consider to be my true friends. Last week, however, I was reminded that my number is soon to shrink.

College friendships are a tricky thing. My roommate, for example, is in the same grade as I am. We are (except in the event of a tragedy) going to be co-habitating for the rest of our time at Saint Joe’s.

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