Hayford twins

Twin sisters Allyson Hayford (sophomore-nursing) and Ashley Hayford (sophomore-journalism) talk in their apartment. 

After living with someone for 18 years, one would think I’d need a break from said person.

We applied to the same schools and both accepted Penn State’s offer, but I’m often asked, “Why would you room with your twin sister?” My response is always, “Why not?”

Intending to major in nursing, Allyson knew that Penn State was her number one school. Both of our parents are in the medical industry, and our dad graduated from Penn State’s nursing program. So for her, “it was meant to be.”

Penn State wasn’t my first choice, but it made sense to me to attend Penn State, too. I thought everything would change if Allyson and I weren’t together, and I didn’t want our relationship to be ruined.

If I went to college in Washington, D.C. like I wanted to, how would we separate our clothes? When would we see each other? Would she call me? Which parent would take each of us to move-in day?

We pondered every possibility and every scenario, together and apart. However, Allyson and I decided to be roommates at Penn State — in West Halls. Do I regret living with Allyson? No, but West? Yes.

The suspected mold in our room made us cough our lungs up the entire spring semester and when nobody else in our hall wanted to socialize, at least we had each other.

Living with Allyson freshman year wasn’t only convenient, but it was more insightful than I could have imagined. We hadn’t shared a room in eight years, but sharing our tiny West dorm grew our relationship more than I could have hoped.

I got to see Allyson break out of her shell and watch her grow into the outgoing, hilarious and carefree sister, friend and roommate she is today. Honestly, the memories we’ve made since sharing a room at Penn State feel more meaningful now than they did when we lived across the hall from each other.

We’ve pulled countless all-nighters, cried for hours over the most minor inconveniences and we’ve definitely had a few physical fights, but we always laugh it off five minutes later.

If I would have had any other roommate, I wouldn’t have had such a memorable and life changing freshman year. So, we decided to give rooming together a second shot.

Along with our two other roommates, living off-campus has been a different journey. However, it’s just as memorable. It has taught us how to be adults and how to live even closer.

Unfortunately, our apartment bedroom isn’t as spacious as our homey West dorm room. Allyson can’t cook much besides a bowl of cereal and a grilled cheese, but we’ve been bonding even more – because next year will be different.

Next year, Allyson will transfer to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for the entirety of her junior year. So, I’ve been left to find a new roommate.

It will definitely be difficult to adapt to. I won’t have a nursing student practicing taking my blood pressure before bed while I’m just trying to watch Netflix. I won’t have two loads of laundry to worry about. I won’t have her cute clothes to steal when I don’t want to wear a hoodie and sweatpants.

Allyson has already made it clear that she will be sleeping on our couch every weekend she can make the trip to State College from Hershey, and she will always be a phone call away.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Although it’s bittersweet to see Allyson leave our cramped apartment and continue onto her next chapter as a student nurse in Hershey, a new one begins when my brother Dylan begins his first semester at Penn State in the fall.

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