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University and Beyond

Twins Jess and Dan Cripps left home – and each other – for the first time to start universities hundreds of miles apart. How did it go?

Jess: There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to leave your family to start a new chapter. Mine is going to Exeter University’s campus in Falmouth to study conservation biology and ecology.  University is daunting for anyone, leaving friends and family behind, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my twin. Dan and I have a close bond and I don’t know what the impact will be of living so far apart.

 Arriving at university was exciting but unnerving – wondering what my flatmates  would be  like, how easy it would be to make friends, how I would cook and do  the washing. The first  week was hard but not being able to turn to my twin was  the hardest part. Even though  there are many ways of communicating these  days, it’s not the same as sitting in your  room or the local park together.

 The thing I’ve missed most is spending quality time together, mainly going to  the pub. We  probably took this for granted at home but I definitely miss it here.  We talk on Skype about  three times a week and text each other constantly to  see how our days are going. It’s hard  to visit because it’s a long way and the  train is expensive – Dan’s in Reading– and our  timetables are spread out. That  makes our chats on Skype all the more meaningful. Being so far apart I feel  I’ve become more independent, but it has also brought us closer together  in  some ways. We’re more willing to talk to each other for longer periods. And  we’re always able to ask each other about things we are stuck on, especially  cooking – Dan’s a good cook whereas I’m not very good at all...

Dan :I arrived in Reading University to read chemistry – the first time I have been away from Jess for longer than a week or two. We chose our universities based on the courses that we were applying for and never made a conscious decision to go to separate universities, it just happened that way. Although we don’t see each other as much as before we still talk as much. We are perhaps more independent of each other in our academic work, but I still help Jess with any problems she has and vice versa. I have downloaded Skype onto my laptop, which enables me to video-call Jess. It doesn’t cost anything and allows us to communicate face to face and ask about each other’s courses.  Moving away is a big eye opener into living independently. The first few weeks were odd, having to cook each meal yourself and only cooking for one.  But everyone has now adjusted and made friends and the student lifestyle is one I am thoroughly enjoying. Having completed a GCSE in food technology I knew how to cook a few things – unlike Jess who for the first week phoned either me or Mum to ask how to cook things like jacket potato!



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