Most college students long for a roommate who has similar qualities to their own – and for at least two pairs of roommates at UCSB, this wish became reality at birth.
“We didn’t have to deal with creepy roommates,” Tyler Durand, a fourth-year business economics major, said about the advantages of rooming since freshman year with his twin Garrett, a political science and French major.
Third-year English major Lisa McClelland also saw benefits in having her twin sister Caitlin, also an English major, room with her at UCSB.
“It makes the transition easier when someone has the same sleeping pattern as you and understands your issues,” she said.
UCSB’s most alike twins – the McClelland sisters – and as some of their friends claim, two of the most different – the Durand brothers – decided to follow their identical half through college, sharing both the fun of having a sibling and the frustration of occasionally getting confused for the other.
Initially, Caitlin said, she and Lisa agreed to attend the same school, but to also lead their separate lives. As it turns out, these separate paths led them to pursue the same major, the same minor, the same class schedule and the same sorority: Alpha Epsilon Phi. The similarities might also extend to their economic know-how.
“It saves a lot of money on books,” Lisa said.
Meanwhile, Garrett and Tyler said that while they have been roommates since freshman year, they have chosen different academic paths, interests and sense of style.
For example, while Tyler is more likely to be found practicing his swings on the golfing green, Garrett can often be found scuba diving and exploring the Santa Barbara coastal waters.
“We don’t dress alike and we have different hairstyles,” Tyler said.
Tyler describes himself as the preppy type, and Garret compares himself to his brother as being “more outgoing and outrageous.”
Their differences in personality, however, have not stopped strangers, and even friends, from mixing them up.
“I laugh at the number of people I get to meet that think I am him,” Tyler said.
The McClelland sisters also admitted that telling identical twins apart from one another is an understandably difficult task, one that even their father sometimes fails. They only flinch at such confusion when people brand them with a label like “the twins,” which, they said, can be detrimental to each sister’s individuality.
Lisa went on to point out quirks and habits that the two do not share, such as her relative quietness to Caitlin’s more gregarious nature.
Garrett and Tyler Durand don’t seem to mind the grouping, and they said they enjoy being referred to as “the twins.”
“We are an attraction when we walk into a party,” Tyler said with a smile. “Everyone is like, ‘It’s the twins!'”
Despite such good cheer, the brothers said they do occasionally grow weary of each other’s constant presence, which is probably not as annoying as when people sarcastically ask, “Are you twins?” when they stand side by side.
As for postgraduate plans, both sets of twins hope to eventually open businesses together and work as business partners.
Before that occurs, however, Caitlin and Lisa said they want to separate after graduation for a while for several reasons. For a long time, Caitlin said, they have been viewed as a pair, and separation would mean they “can walk down the street without being the twin sister.”
Both women envision graduate school as the next step, but said they will most likely pursue separate programs. However, they also said they would one day like to open a daycare center together. Though they have spent very little time apart throughout their lives, Caitlin and Lisa said they know they will always be there for each other no matter where they go.
Garret and Tyler said they plan to stay together once they graduate this spring and are looking forward to opening their own Mexican restaurant called “Kay and Dave’s Cantina.” Before the grand opening, they intend to backpack through Europe together.
“It’s nice having a built-in travel buddy,” Garrett said.