Twins With The Same Major In College: Disaster or Delight?

Being a college student, people are always interested in my life. The first question they usually ask is, “What’s your major?” At family reunions, work and even out with friends people are always asking this question. A lot of the times when I get the question, my sister is standing there as well and will be asked the same question. For her, it’s simple. Nursing. The reaction of the person asking the question usually goes something like, “Oh how nice! You’ll make a lovely nurse,” as he or she turns to me for my answer. “Public relations with a minor in marketing,” I say with the hope they might have the slightest clue what I’m talking about. Ninety percent of the time, though, I’m met with a blank stare and a puzzled look. “Well, best of luck to both of you,” the person will say as he or she turns to walk away.  So, let me explain to any readers who do not know what public relations and marketing is.

According to PRSA’s website, the widely accepted definition of public relations is the strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. More blank stares. It’s hard to simply put what public relations is. It’s a lot of putting whatever company your working for in the best light while maintaining its image to the public and getting its name in the headlines.

According to AMA’s website, the widely accepted definition of marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for costumers, clients, partners and society at large. I saw marketing and public relations as going hand-in-hand with each other, so that is why I tacked on the marketing minor.

I’ll have it known that I could never be a nurse. As much as I respect the profession, cleaning bedpans and working with sick and complaining people does not sound like my cup of tea. I also wouldn’t trust myself giving shots, passing out medications or taking vital signs. And I’m sure Kelsey would never enjoy writing press releases, managing social media and making presentations. As much as we are similar in many ways, we differ in that aspect. We never really thought we would be in the same major together.

Now, let me introduce to you Randy and Donny Vaughn, also known as The Marketing Twins. First of all, I’ll start by saying how generous and kind these two guys are. They were truly great people to work with. Randy and Donny’s agency is based out of Fort Worth, TX and works with marketing strategies, social media coaching, branding and design and integrated marketing.  What do you think it would be like working everyday with a sibling? I had the chance to talk with Randy and Donny about their background and experiences. Check it out!

 

1) I know some twins are closer than others. How close were you two growing up?

Randy : We were pretty close.  We have an older brother named Gary.  We all grew up in a small town called Littlefield, Texas.  There wasn’t much to do in Littlefield so we spent a lot of time together.  We would drive to the big city of Lubbock (home of Texas Tech University) for fun so we had a bunch of time in the car together.

Donny: As twins, we had our own language with our dog. That’s close!  Our older brother didn’t know the language and neither did our parents – just us!  Seriously, we were very close – we did everything together.

2) Where did each of you go to school? What were your majors?

We both went to Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX).  We were marketing majors together.  We didn’t start out that way as we were Advertising majors together in the Mass Communication department.  But we made the decision to move the Business school and become marketing majors at the end of our sophomore year.

3) How did you two decide to go into business together?

Randy:  After spending some time in the business world after college, my wife and I felt the calling to the mission field in Africa.  We spent almost 10 years in the bush of Africa planting churches.  But the whole time, I was doing marketing and graphic design projects on the side.  So when we got back to the States, I knew I didn’t want to do ministry work full time. I wanted to do something fun and exciting and I had an open slate.  After a period of time of working for others, I decided to launch our marketing business on my own.  It was just a few months later that Donny joined me.

Donny: About 6 months after Randy returned from the mission field, my Fortune 100 company announced as mass reduction in force.  I was in the HR department at the time and we found that the HR group would be impacted as well.  But I remember seeing the words that jumped off the page – “We are asking for volunteers and we are providing incentives to do so”.  Wow!  My wife and I prayed about the decision and ultimately decided to leave my office job that I had done for 15 years to join up with Randy and it was a great decision!  I’m thankful God has paved the way for us to work together.

 

4) What is it like working with your twin brother?

Randy:  The most exciting part is we get to work together and create ideas for our clients.  It’s a blessing to be working together.

Donny:  We get along great.  In fact, the last physical fight was in college!!  Fortunately, we work through our differences in a much calmer way now.  But we compliment each other so well.  There are things Randy is great at and there are things he is horrible at.  And the same goes for me.  But where I’m weak, he is strong and vice versa.  Working together with someone like that makes it great!

5) What are your favorite things about being twins?

Donny: Being a twin is like being in a unique fraternity.  I have a special connection with my twin brother Randy that I don’t have with anyone else.

Randy: I agree completely.  There’s just nothing like it and we love being twins!

 

As close as Kelsey and I are, I’m not sure if I could work day-in and day-out with her, so kudos to these two! To hear more from The Marketing Twins, check out the podcast below!

 

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The King’s Twin

In early February after a phone interview with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I was asked to go to their site for an in-person interview for a summer internship position. Out of excitement and without thinking about anything else (costs, classes, exams etc.), I immediately said yes. Of course, I had done my research and discovered that St. Jude was located in Memphis, Tennessee. I had never been there, or anywhere close to there for that matter. After I hung the phone up with St. Jude, I instantly called home to tell the great news to my parents. Of course, they were delighted and two weeks later we packed up the car and took a little road trip down to Memphis.

double trouble 1

Outside of Graceland

It was an amazing time, and we figured we would make a little vacation out of it. After the 13-hour drive, we finally saw the ‘Welcome To Memphis’ sign. Our first stop was Graceland. Now, before planning this little trip if someone said Graceland to me, I would have no idea what it was. My parents explained it to me in simple terms: it was the home of the late Elvis Presley which had been turned into a museum. I thought it would be interesting. It was a good way to kill time. I ended up having the time of my life. We went through a tape-recorded tour where we were able to walk through the house at our own pace. We saw every part of the house and the tour guide explained it to be almost 100% the same as when Elvis had it. We went through a museum of all the actual cars Elvis had, we saw his private planes and we went through another museum of all the awards and trophies Elvis had won in his successful lifetime. It was certainly eye-opening.

The movie poster for Elvis' Double Trouble movie

The movie poster for Elvis’ Double Trouble movie

At the end of the tour, we were lead out to the side yard, also known as the memorial garden, to discover Elvis is actually buried at Graceland with much of his family. Much to my surprise, next to Elvis’ tombstone laid a memorial stone with ‘In Memory of Jessie Garon Presley. January 8 1935’. Elvis was a twin. Jessie Presley was born a stillborn only 35 minutes before Elvis.

This came as a surprise to me and had a certain effect on me. I understand this was nearly 80 years ago and times have changed, but it left me wondering. How often does this happen with twins? Why does it happen? I decided to do some research.

Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

 This is the main cause of stillborn births in pregnancies with multiple babies. Twin-Twin Transfustion Syndrome, also known as Feto-Fatal Transfusion Syndrome, is when blood from one twin is transferred to the other twin through the placenta. The only way to really diagnose this syndrome is through prenatal ultrasounds. 15% of identical twin pregnancies are affected by TTTS. In cases where one twin dies, the risk of the other twin dying rises 10% and there is a 10-30% increased risk of neurologic complications.

Other complications

There is also a higher risk of other pregnancy complications when having twins, including pre-eclampsia, placental abruption and fetal growth restriction. The chance of miscarriages with twins is higher than it is with a single pregnancy. The rate of stillbirth is higher for multiple births (1 in 64 live births compared to 1 in 200 for singleton babies).

Coping with the loss of a twin

Obviously, different people would cope differently with the loss of a twin baby. The parents obviously would go through several stages of guilt, anxiety and fear. The other twin may grow up always questioning things.

Elvis' twins memorial stone via worldisround.com

Elvis’ twins memorial stone via worldisround.com

So how did superstar Elvis Presley deal with the death of his twin? In an interview, Elvis said “being a twin has always been a mystery for me. I mean, we were in our mother’s womb together, so why was he born dead and not me? He never even got his chance to live. Think about it, why me? Why was I the one that was chosen? I’ve always wondered what would’ve been if he had lived, I really have. These kinds of questions tear my head up. There’s got to be reasons for all this.”

It is said that Elvis would openly talk about his relationship with his twin. He used to tell people he would talk to Jessie at night or have dreams about his brother, who he described proudly as a ‘spitting image’ of himself.

I could never imagine the grief of having to lose a twin as a parent, and I hope there is no time in the future where I will have to lose my twin. I am thankful that we both came into the world healthy and happy.

The Ugly Truth About Smoking

Since we could walk we were told to stay healthy. No smoking, no drinking and no drugs. And if we didn’t listen, all of these terrible things would happen that would effect your appearance, reputation and lifestyle. Learning about the effects of smoking at such a young age, I can remember thinking that I would never do that. Why would I want wrinkles and yellow skin? Hence the reason I don’t smoke (and for other reasons, but I digress.) Fortunately, my twin doesn’t either.

What about everyone else? What about those people who picked up a cigarette at whatever age and just couldn’t put them down, despite all of the warnings and threats? Did they ever get the dreaded bags under their eyes, premature wrinkles and yellow teeth? A recent study involving identical twins proves yes, they did.

The study was conducted by a group of researchers at the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University. These researchers looked at 79 sets of twins between the ages of 18 and 78 at the annual twin-gathering festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. A professional photographer took a picture of each individual twin.

Then, the team divided the photos into two sections. The first was simply made up of sets of twins in which one smoked and the other didn’t. The other was complied with twins who both smoked. In this group, however, one twin smoked for five years longer than the other twin.

A medical student and two doctors studied and analyzed each picture. The results are crazy.

In the first group, the twin who smoked looked older 57% of the time. In the second group,  the twin who smoked longer looked older 63% of the time. What does this mean?

Well, first of all, smoking does have an effect on your appearance. Second of all, smoking for even the short duration of five years longer has a significant impact on your appearance as well. These aging differences were apparent in just five years.

So, you may not be a medical student or a doctor, but give it a shot.

Which twin do you think smoked? You may want to click on the image to enlarge it to get a better look.

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Photo number 1: The woman on the left was the smoker. She smoked  17 years longer than her twin on the right did. Note the differences in lip wrinkles and lower lid bags.

Photo number 2: Both of these brothers are smokers, however the one of the right smoked 14 years longer than the one on the left. The man on the right has noticeably more wrinkles as well as hair loss.

Photo number 3: The twin on the left is a non-smoker, the twin on the right is a smoker. The differences in the smile lines and the wrinkles prove this.

Photo number 4: The twin on the right smoked for 29 years and the twin on the left is a non-smoker. One of the major differences here is around the eyes.

So, despite the other major problems that come from smoking like lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, do you really want to look noticeably older than your actually are?

Advice From An Old Pro

Being a mother, as far as I’ve heard, is a combination of unconditional love, the occasional mental breakdowns and little to no sleep. Having a baby is a huge responsibility that requires plenty of sacrifices and expenses. As the child grows, raising him or her can sometimes get even more difficult as he or she goes through the terrible two’s, “first days” of everything, snobby middle school years, crazy high school years and independent college years.

mom1Now imagine all of that times two. That’s right, the mother of twins AKA supermom. Double the attitude, double the drama and double the fights. How do they do it? I would love to know. Looking back on my life, I will never know how my mother made it through the past 21 years. But who am I to give advice? Let’s hear it from the woman herself.

 

Q: How did you react when you found out you were having twins?

mom4

A: My VERY first reaction was shock. There were no twins in my family as far back as I could remember. I never dreamed that I would be the mom of twins. After the initial shock wore off, I started feeling overwhelmed with the thought of being the mother of three children under the age of 2 ½, as I already had a 20 month old son. As the due date drew near I became more and more excited, and a little more confident.

Q: When you brought your twins home for the first time, how did that go?

A: As you can imagine, at St. Vincent Hospital there were plenty of visitors and support. When I came home I started feeling a little overwhelmed again. My husband was going back to work, and I was going to be solely responsible for two newborns and a two year old. Unfortunately, I was too proud to ask for help, so I did almost everything on my own. I suppose the worst part was the guilt. I felt guilty because I no longer had the time I once had to spend with my first born, and I felt guilty because my two newborns had to share their mommy’s time.

Q: What would you tell a mother who is nervous or frightened about having twins?

A: Double the trouble, double the joy. Just take one day at a time, and do your best. Accept any help that is offered.

mom9Q: You had another child at home. Did you parent any differently when it came to the twins and the other son?

A: I don’t think so. Obviously, my first born was used to having me all to himself for a couple of years, but I did try very hard to spend as much time with the twins as I had once spent with my first born. As the twins grew older, they were interested in basically the same activities so I did tend to feel like I had “two children” instead of three when it came to dividing my time.

Q: What advice would you give new mother’s with other children at home?

A: I think that depends on the age of the other children at home. If the child is young (toddler or even pre-school) recognize that he or she may be jealous of a new baby/babies  in the house, and may even regress developmentally.  Be patient and encourage “big boy/girl” behaviors.  Try to include the child in caring for the babies. Even a toddler can fetch a diaper or bottle. Encourage the child to show affection to the new babies, but never leave a young child alone with a baby. Try to find time every day to give the older child your undivided attention – read, play a game, cuddle. He or she is probably feeling a little displaced, not by one new baby, but by TWO!

Q: What was it like raising twin babies/toddlers?

A: Initially, raising twin babies felt overwhelming. I was nursing them, and they seemed to need constant attention. I was being pulled in several different directions,especially since I also had a household to maintain. As you can imagine, my house was no longer pristine, but laundry still needed to be done, as well as preparing meals, shopping, maintaining household accounts, and keeping life threatening germs at bay with some basic cleaning.

Q: What were the biggest challenges of having twins in elementary school/middle school?

A: That was probably the easiest age for me, because they were not quite as dependent on me for their every need, yet I didn’t have to worry about them as I did when they were in high school and struggling VERY hard to become totally independent of me. Probably the biggest challenge for me at this age was financial and time management. My children went to a private grade school (tuition) and were involved in several activities that required time and money.

mom6

Q: Looking back on it, what stands out to you from your twin’s high school years?

A: Two things stand out – being proud of their many accomplishments, and worrying about some of the choices they would make as they moved towards becoming more independent. Fortunately we all made it through those years with minimal drama, and many good memories. Teenagers can be quite challenging anyway, but I always felt that my twins would “double team” me in various situations in order to get their way or to “cover their tracks”. They always had each other’s back.

Q: What general advice would you have for moms of twins-to-be?

A: Celebrate their “twinness”, but always recognize their individual uniqueness.

It’s A Real Life Parent Trap!

Image via Bordier's Facebook Page

Image via Bordier’s Facebook Page

We all remember the movie “Parent Trap”, right? Lindsay Lohan and her twin (also Lindsay Lohan) were separated shortly after their birth, one going with the father and one going with the mother. Neither twin knew the other existed. 11 years later, the twins were coincidentally enrolled in the same summer camp and finally came to the realization that they were long-lost twin sisters.

That movie was filmed way back in the ’90s. Actually, the original movie  came out in 1961. I don’t think I’d be the first one to say a lot has changed since then. No more would you find your long lost twin at summer camp. That is a thing of the past. Now if you’re going to look for a sibling, check Facebook.

Imagine waking up one morning with a message in your inbox from someone over 5,000 miles away claiming to be your identical twin. Crazy, right? Well, it happened.

Samantha Futerman, a 25 year-old actress living in Los Angeles woke up on February 1, 2013 with a message in her inbox on Facebook that would forever change her life. Anais Bordier, a French fashion designer living in London, saw Futerman on a YouTube video, found her Facebook and discovered some mind-blowing information.

The two didn’t only look almost exactly alike. They were both adopted, born on the same day and in the same city. What were the chances? After chatting via Skype, they decided to meet up in person in London, Los Angeles and Manhattan. Like most twins, the two were very alike. They chatted about all sorts of topics, from boys to food to careers.

Futerman and Bordier were almost positive they we’re twins because of the immediate bond they shared. Recently they brought the big guns in, got their DNA tested and what do you know? Twins. It was discovered that when they were babies, the two were put into two separate foster care agencies and adopted separately.

Image from 'Twinsters' via Kickstart

Image from ‘Twinsters’ via Kickstart

In interviews, Bordier said she always felt as though something was missing. The two have said when they Skyped for the first time, they thought they were looking into a mirror. Futerman and Bordier plan to make a documentary about their miraculous findings in the near future.

Twin Research:

Reading about this story fascinated me. I don’t even know the feelings I would be overwhelmed with if I discovered Kelsey and I had been separated at birth and lived on different continents our whole lives. After watching interviews and observing these two, they act incredibly alike for being separated for 25 years. I decided to do my research.

I looked into the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. I (vaguely) remember learning about this in my high school psychology class. However, I find it more interesting now than I did back then. The study began in 1979 and was led by T.J. Bouchard. The study focused on twins who were separated at birth and raised in different families. The main findings of the study concluded that twins who were reared apart had an equal chance of being similar than those reared together. All in all, the researchers found that the similarities that occur in twins really are due to their genes rather than the environment. How crazy is that? Wait ‘til you hear this story…

The Jim Twins:

Image via The TWINSource

Image via The TWINSource

The “Jim Twins” were adopted at four-weeks old and separated into two different families. Here are some mind-boggling facts about the two.

Jim and Jim both:

  • grew up in Ohio about 45 miles away from each other
  • were named James by their adoptive parents
  • were married twice
  • married a woman named Linda
  • remarried to a woman named Betty
  • had a son and named him James Allan
  • had owned dogs named Toy
  • suffered from migraine headaches
  • have high blood pressure
  • chain smoked
  • had wood working workshops in their garages
  • drove Chevy’s
  • served as Sherriff deputies

Coincidence? I think not.