MACON — In the process of recruiting the largest and most academically-qualified freshman class in Mercer's history, the University brought in four remarkable students this fall.
Carla and Jennifer Paschke and Kelly and Justin Quinton are two sets of twins who chose Mercer as their place to continue their education together.
"Going to the same college was our number one priority," said Carla Paschke, who is older than her twin sister, Jennifer, by five minutes. "We chose Mercer because it is a great school, and we love it here."
While many siblings go in different directions to seek individuality when it comes to choosing a college, the Paschke twins, fraternal twins from Macon who look identical, chose the same school to start what they call the "separation" process. For the first step, the twins, who consider themselves best friends, opted not to room together at Mercer.
"We want to make sure we are equipped to live in another town when we grow up," said Jennifer, who goes by Jenny. "Not living together will help us to become more independent and meet more people."
Kelly and Justin Quinton, fraternal twins from Marietta, however, chose Mercer separately, with Justin deciding on Mercer for its engineering program first, and Kelly making her final decision a few weeks later.
"I was leaning towards Mercer because they have a good early childhood education program, but knowing Justin was going to be here, helped solidify my decision," said Kelly, who is a minute older than her twin brother. "Knowing he is here is a definite comfort."
Comfort isn't the only benefit a twin can provide. For instance, one advantage is they never have to eat alone. Kelly and Justin eat dinner together every night, while the Paschke twins meet for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Another advantage, at least for the Paschke twins, is having one large wardrobe.
"We call each other every morning at 7 a.m. to borrow clothes, makeup, and purses," said Carla.
The greatest advantage of having a twin on campus, both sets of twins report, is always having someone on whom to depend. The support ranges from Justin taking care of Kelly when she was sick during the semester, to Carla taking balloons to Jenny when she's had a bad day.
"The best part about having a twin on campus is knowing that I can depend on someone for anything," said Jenny, who along with her sister, is majoring in technical communication. "I've known her for 18 years, and she knows everything I'm going through and where I am coming from."
Of course, there are a few disadvantages as well.
"One drawback of having a twin is people not knowing which one of us is which," Jennifer said. "People come up to me and ask what time our class is meeting, and I have to tell them my class isn't meeting."
The Quinton twins don't have to worry about people being able to tell them apart, but do have to worry about people thinking they are a couple.
"Because we are close, we are around each other a lot and people think we are dating," said Kelly. " So, we try to stand apart from each other more."
But even with the mix-ups, the occasional sibling rivalry or fight, or for Justin, the constant supervision by his twin sister, both sets of twins agree the advantages of having a twin on campus far outweigh the disadvantages.
"I'm glad I'm at Mercer," said Justin. "I like it, and I'm glad Kelly chose to come here too."
The Paschke twins feel the same way.
"We want our own lives, but right now we're so happy it's hard to give it up," Jenny said.
Carla added, "I can't imagine not seeing her every day."