I sat at the computer for quite a while, struggling to think of something insightful, clever, or at the very least intelligible to say that you readers might find enjoyable. After getting distracted and eating too many Peanut M&Ms, I gave up in frustration and retreated to the couch, where I commenced reading my outside-reading novel for English and getting rather sleepy. I was saved from a completely unproductive nap, however, by the arrival of the mailman. He brought a letter from my twin sister (Uinta), who is spending a year in Germany for a foreign exchange program. And that got me thinking…
We’ve all seen the movies and reality TV shows about the twins who are separated at birth and who, when they are magically reunited, discover stunning similarities with their doppelganger: they have the same jobs, their spouses are creepily similar, they like the same foods, they named their children the same things, and they move and speak at the same time. Taking these completely reliable accounts into consideration, I wondered: could I apply this theory of twin-induced similarities to a comparison of my senior year of high school in Salt Lake City, Utah and my twin sister’s senior year of high school in Kleve, Deutschland? And so, ladies and gentleman, I now present to you the Twin Experiment:
Let’s start with the basic framework of our school days. In the mornings, I drive for ten minutes to school for Jazz Band rehearsal at 6:30 a.m. every day except for Mondays. I then go on to my four 1 ½ hour classes that rotate with another four classes every other day. Uinta’s morning starts eight hours sooner than mine. She wakes up and rides her bike (sunshine, rain, or snow) for a half hour to school through, and these are her words exactly, an “enchanted forest.” Her class schedule varies each day. She has to take leistugkurs (achievement) and grundkurs (ground) classes – two to three leistugkurs and one to two grunkurs per week. Her courses are divided into ungerade (odd) and gerade (even), basically a rotating schedule like the AB one I have, and each class is 45 minutes, but the courses are usually set in double block. School begins at 8:00 a.m., and gets out at different times according to the classes she has, but the latest Uinta ever gets out is 4:45 p.m. Some lucky students have classes that go until 6:30 p.m.
For lunch, provided that I remembered to pack something that morning (which doesn’t happen often), I have Greek yogurt or a salad or a bagel. Uinta eats Apfelkuchen and Wurst – don’t even bother about asking me what those are. After school, I practice music for a couple hours and go home to do homework before a dance rehearsal. Uinta goes home and does homework (obviously not as much as me), tutors other students in English, and has track and field or swim team practice.
When my teachers get sick, the school provides me with a substitute teacher who either forces me to watch a video and take notes, write an essay, or do busy-work while he/she sits and twiddles his/her thumbs. When Uinta’s teachers get sick, class is canceled and she goes shopping or eats German chocolate. She tells me, actually, that she eats German chocolate regardless of the existence of class.
We both take English and math classes, but where I take percussion ensemble and AP American History, Uinta takes sport (pronounced shport) and paedagogik – again, don’t ask me what that is. She falls asleep while watching a documentary about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. I fall asleep while listening to a lecture about John Quincy Adams and James Buchanan.
On the weekends, we both do more homework and stress about college applications. Once, we each went to see Skyfall, but in two completely different languages (which, I’m sure, had no effect on Daniel Craig’s awesomeness). Uinta hangs out with friends and tries to understand conversations in German; I hang out with friends and try to understand conversations that involve lots of hashtags and “tots.”
I go to school sports games and assemblies and dances, Uinta does not. Skyline has a “Spirit Week” where we get to wear crazy clothes and do goofy activities during lunch. Uinta’s school has no Spirit Week, and apparently they never actually wear lederhosen either. Uinta won’t get to go to prom or see the Christmas lights at Temple Square. I won’t get to visit cathedrals in Cologne or go shopping in the Netherlands. At the end of the year, I will send out graduation announcements and attend a big graduation ceremony with lots of hoopla and flying caps. There will be no graduation ceremony for Uinta. But you know that we’re both going to party on the big day.
My Twin Experiment has reached a conclusion, but it leaves me with another question. My and Uinta’s senior years have similarities, and they have things that are drastically different. So how do you define Senior Year? Every single high school student the world over has a very different experience – what is it that connects all of them? In the end, senior year isn’t about prom and the Homecoming football game. It is about the closing of a chapter in your childhood, and the beginning of a whole new experience. It is a discovery of self that will hopefully aid you through the rest of your life. That is one thing about senior year that my Zwillingschewster and I definitely have in common.