Twins Nick and Ben Cunkelman â€™11 enjoy using their identical appearances to play pranks on unsuspecting freshmen COOTers.
While many students on the Hill consider their friends as close as family after four years, for some students the College really is a family affair.
On average, five percent of each incoming class at Colby is made up of students who have at least one parent who is a Colby alum, while another five percent of each class is made up of students that have siblings who are either co-matriculating or alumni.
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Palmer McAuliff ’08 and Alexandra McAuliff ’13 fit both of these categories. The two are sisters whose mother also graduated from the College and who grew up in Waterville. “Growing up, Colby was a pretty big part of our lives,” Palmer said.
The McAuliff sisters say that they sometimes compare experiences with their mother, telling stories and talking about the “new dorms” on campus. The sisters agree that there are certain “things that we share because we all went to or are at Colby.” Both acknowledge that their legacy status became more tangible when they began their time at the College.
However, neither had originally intended to come to the Hill. After visiting similar liberal arts colleges and finding that they did not feel right for her, Palmer looked at Colby from a different perspective. She visited, had an interview and took a tour, and finally decided that this was the school that was right for her.
Alexandra was admitted to Colby as well as Connecticut College but ultimately decided to enroll at the College after attending an admitted students’ day and sitting in on a class.
Other siblings had different experiences when deciding on where to apply to college. Luke Bowe ’13, the younger brother of James Bowe ’11, said that hearing about his brother’s experiences on the Hill made him want to be a student here. “We are really close and [we] talked a lot during his freshman and sophomore years….I came up to visit him after I was accepted which was a very affirming experience,” Luke said.
Alex Baier also ‘14 followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Kevin Baier ’11, when choosing a college. “Having Kevin around does definitely make life easier,” Alex said. “He explains what classes to sign up for and shows me the ropes.”
More impressive than the sibling pairs enrolled at the College, is the number of twins who arrive on the Hill together each fall. Nick Cunkelman ’11 said that he and his twin Ben Cunkelman ‘11 had not initially planned to go to the same school. “We didn’t want to restrict our choices due to a premeditated rule,” Nick said about their college search. “Not surprisingly, however, we have similar taste.”
Samantha Merriweather ’12 said that she and her twin Alexandra Merriweather ’12 “did not actually want to go to the same school to begin with.” In the end, however, “when we found out where we did and didn’t get in…our top choice was Colby so we decided to go for it. I have no complaints! It’s great having my twin here,” Samantha said.
Being identical twins in an environment where no one knows you certainly seems to have its perks. “Pranking out our COOTers is always priceless,” Nick said.
“Let’s be serious,” Samantha said, “most people don’t really know who is who.”
Despite the small student body on the Hill, siblings seem to find it easy to be an individual in the Colby community and creating new friendships while still maintaining close family ties.