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By Lily Samuels ’11   Date: 10/11/10 Bookmark and Share

The Smith Sisterhood—Literally

Imagine: You walk into a Seelye classroom the first day of classes. Your eyes dart around, searching for a friendly face—an ally, perhaps, for the duration of the semester. After a moment’s perusal, you spot someone remarkably familiar. You’ve seen this person before—and often. It’s….your sister?

Twin sophomores Lucy (on left) and Myrna Stevenot.

For more than two dozen Smithies this scenario is a reality. Fourteen pairs of sisters call Smith their temporary home. Some are twins, others are separated by class years, but all came here after growing up in the same household.

For some, the prospect of having a sister on campus played a significant role in the decision to come to Smith.

“Knowing my sister would be there made the transition much easier,” says Lucy Stevenot ’13, who transferred to Smith this year from the College of Marin to join her twin sister Myrna Stevenot ’13. They are from the San Francisco area. “I knew I would be happier here because it was a place that made my sister happy, and so far I love Smith.”

After a couple years at Smith, Darcy Dwyer ’11 recalls advising her younger sister, Emily Dwyer ’13, both of whom grew up in Winchester, Mass. “I was the one who encouraged her to consider Smith,” says Darcy. “One of the main reasons I believe she ended up here is because of all the opportunities I have had at Smith.”

Emily Dwyer ’13 (on left) and her sister Darcy Dwyer ’11.

Though they’re born of the same parents and raised under the same roof, sisters on campus often have divergent interests, academic and otherwise.

Lucy Stevenot, a biology major, and her sister Myrna, a Russian civilization major, have no mutual classes this semester. Finding time to spend together is a conscious effort. So next semester, the Stevenots plan to take a scuba diving class together, and the two sisters regularly connect outside of class, notes Myrna, eating meals, doing homework, and spending the weekends together whenever possible.

Having a sister on campus can have numerous practical benefits. The Dwyer sisters share a car, for example, exchange advice concerning classes and professors, and act as each other’s personal tutor.

Perhaps most importantly, having a sister on campus can be a kind of lifeline, a source of emotional support.

The Jimenez sisters, Mayra ’13 (on left) and Anna Laura ’14.

“When I have a bad day or miss home, I just go visit her or meet up for lunch,” says Anna Laura Jimenez ’14 about her sister Mayra Jimenez ’13, from Los Angeles. “Having my sister at Smith makes it feel more like home and not just a school. I feel comfortable here.”

While college years are an opportunity for forging new connections, these Smithies are engaged in both building new friendships and maintaining a much older one: a sisterhood. Home has followed them to school, and each individual must reconcile her overlapping identities.

“While college is a time to grow and find yourself, I've learned that I will always seem to be ‘Darcy's little sister,’” Emily Dwyer reflects.

Indeed, for sisters at Smith, there is a balance between individual growth and loyalty to the comfort of sisterhood. Some, at least, seem to have found it.

“We can understand each other without having all the sibling rivalry,” says Anna Laura Jimenez of her relationship with her sister. “We admire each other for our achievements. But I believe that we have grown into independent adults who make their own decisions. I am just happy to have her here.”

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