The Time I Pretended To Be My Identical Twin

On September 6th, I booked a flight straight to North Carolina after discovering the threat of Hurricane Irma on Miami.

North Carolina seems like a pretty random place to go to for me, considering I don’t even live there. But it actually wasn't random at all.

The days from September 6th to the 16th, I spent my time sleeping on an air mattress in my identical twin sister’s dorm at Elon University, in Elon, North Carolina. I never thought I’d visit her for a whole 10 days. I learned a lot about what it’s like being with my identical twin in a whole new environment for almost two weeks.

As an identical twin, I always get the common question: "Do you guys switch places?"

And I never really had an interesting story about that, until the 10 days I basically pretended to be her (not all the time of course). I learned the real perks of having someone who looks so much like you, strangers and sometimes even people close to either of us, wouldn't know the difference. I feel sorry for anyone who can’t pretend to be someone else and get away with it, really, I do, because you’re missing out on a lot of fun.

At the beginning of my stay, I typically stuck with her: eating my meals with her, going out with her, staying in her dorm, seeing her friends. But I did this with Samantha, not on my own, not without her. But of course when she had class or when she was busy, I had to bend the rules a little bit to do what I wanted.

I remember the first time I pretended to be her. She was in the dining hall and didn't want to use yet another guest swipe on me, so she simply gave me her Phoenix Card, walked away, and let me swipe in as her. This card contains basically all of an Elon student’s information: their meal swipes, phoenix cash, access to buildings, access to mail, etc.

A part of me thought, “What if they question me?,”  “What if they notice?” But the beauty of being an identical twin is that strangers will almost never notice.

That first day she had classes, I sat in her room, watching Netflix, just enjoying the time I had off. And three people within that given day said hi to me as I walked through the hallway. I don’t know if my sister knew them; I don’t know if they were friends - I just knew they thought I was her. I smirked a little because one of the guys was cute, and Samantha might never know he ever waved to me.

Anyways, that was just a little thing I was perfectly fine with and frankly, amused by.

Throughout the time being there, I went to the gym as her, got food as her, got her packages and used her card for laundry.

And you see, I felt like a rebel, a savage. I felt like I was committing a crime, but at the same time, I knew I wouldn't get caught.

Something about the whole experience was quite interesting because I felt like I was stealing someone’s identity. At the University of Miami, most people I saw on campus weren't strangers. But here, at Elon, everyone was a strange face to me, but I was a familiar face to them. It’s a strange concept - I couldn't recognize anyone but they could recognize me.

I felt like I could be whoever I wanted to be because if I messed up or embarrassed myself it wasn't me who did it, it was my sister. 

But overall, I learned how strange of a feeling it is to be someone you’re not. To take the identity of someone else and not get caught. To be able to freeload at a university, not attend class, and simply coast my way through college.

At the end of the experience, I knew how to navigate through campus; I knew the names of some of the frat houses and the buildings. I knew the different meal plans for Elon. For a short 10 days, I was not a University of Miami student. But that really made me appreciate my school more.

It was weird leaving because I felt like my sister - I felt like I went to Elon University. It’s strange, it’s like I pretended to be someone for a while that by the end of it, it was hard to face the reality that I was out of school, I was in fact, not my sister, and my sister’s friends were not necessarily my own.

I did miss it, but I will definitely not miss people not being able to tell us apart and not knowing who I should say hi to in fear that my sister may or may not know them. But I am happy I can finally answer the question I always get about being an identical twin: "Have you guys ever switched places?"

And I’ll be sure to share every detail of the 10 days I pretended to be my identical twin.