‘Home is with me all the time’: NU siblings experience college life together


Illustration by Jessica Ma, Samantha Powers and Kristen Axtman

Siblings who attend NU together say they get to watch their sibling grow.

Jessica Ma, Assistant Campus Editor

For Claire Humphrey, her identical twin Caroline is her “best friend in the whole world.”

The sisters, both Communication sophomores, get to share their Wildcat experience together — in addition to a room in 1871 Orrington. 

“It just so happened that we both really loved Northwestern, so we ended up going to school together,” Caroline Humphrey said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” 

Around campus, siblings who attend NU said they enjoy spending time together throughout the demands of their day-to-day lives. For them, home is always nearby, they said.  

Before Weinberg freshman Maya Hirani arrived at NU, she’d already experienced the school by visiting her older sister, Weinberg senior Camila Hirani. For example, during her sister’s freshman year, Maya Hirani visited campus for Family Weekend, where she attended a football game. 

Their parents met at NU while their father was studying at Kellogg and her mother was taking classes at Loyola University Chicago, Hirani added. She said her parents love the idea of the sisters attending the same university. 

“Even beyond (my sister), there’s a strong and special connection that I have with Northwestern,” Hirani said. 

Now, Hirani sees her sister about once a week, she said. They enjoy studying together in her residence hall or at Main Library and eating around downtown Evanston. 

Her sister lives in a house off campus, where Hirani has developed friendships with her sister’s roommates, Hirani said. 

“It’s nice to have the comfort of being able to go to a home,” Hirani said. “Usually, I’ll come to her house and sit and talk in her living room.” 

SESP senior Sydney Rubin said she sees her younger brother Alex, a McCormick freshman, frequently. Like the Hirani sisters, the Rubins hang out at the older sibling’s apartment, where they watch “a lot” of “Breaking Bad,” Rubin said. 

At school, Rubin said, the time they spend together feels more “intentional,” compared to living together at home. 

“Every time we see each other, we make a plan,” Rubin said. “It’s really exciting to see him being here, making friends and being challenged by his classes. I get to see him, up-close, adjust to school.”

Though the Humphrey sisters both study theatre, Caroline Humphrey said they have a degree of separation between their lives, since they are involved in different activities and performances. 

If they shared everything, Claire Humphrey said, it would be overwhelming. She added they swap stories from the day in their residence hall when they return. 

Caroline Humphrey said she loves “95% of being an identical twin” and “wouldn’t trade it for the world.” But being a twin can come with its challenges. She sometimes struggles to be seen as her own person outside of her sister, she said. 

When the twins meet new people, Caroline Humphrey said, the two worry about being seen as one person.

“I would still prefer to be known by my name,” Caroline Humphrey said. “But also, if there’s someone I’m going to be known by, I’m glad it’s (my sister).”

In high school, the sisters knew many of the same people, Claire Humphrey said. But college  has helped her differentiate herself given the larger student body, she said. People get to know her before learning she has a twin, she said. 

The sisters described it as “special” to watch each other grow in college. Caroline Humphrey said she gets to see her sister dig into her interests, including mock trial, and meet people her sister loves. 

In college, Claire Humphrey said, she “gets this window” into her sister’s life, which has brought them even closer together. 

“(My sister) is my only tie to family here,” Claire Humphrey said. “I don’t get homesick, because my home is with me all the time.”

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Twitter: @JessicaMa2025

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