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Freakouts give way to excitement

Nicole Frey
Preston Utley/Vail DailyTwins Morgan and Helena Stern are going to different colleges and will be apart for the first time ever.
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Morgen and Helena Stern have been together since their days in the womb. Growing up closer than mere sisters, the fraternal twins are now graduating seniors at Battle Mountain High School. And with this rite of passage, Morgen and Helena are taking their first big leaps away from each other as they head off to college in different states.

Pursuing her passion for film and writing, Morgen is heading for the city lights of Los Angeles where she’ll attend the University of Southern California. Helena will stay closer to home, studying equine sciences at Colorado State University.

“We’ve always been together, so it’ll be hard to be apart for the first time,” Morgen said. “But we have different interests and we had to go for that. Writing’s my passion.”

Helena is less worried about separating from her other half.

“We’ll e-mail each other and talk on the phone all the time,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be fun.”

Even without the loss of a twin, the prospect of heading off to college can be pretty daunting, college-bound seniors agreed. And growing up in the insular Vail Valley doesn’t make getting out there any easier.

“Growing up here, I’ve known everyone since I was little, and moving from that and not knowing anyone is going to be hard to adjust to,” said Stephany Walker, who heads off to Miami University in Ohio.

Sarah Thomason, who will attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said she’s scared of driving in the city notorious for its traffic and crazy drivers.

“It’s like we’re being thrown into the world and not knowing what’s going to happen,” she said.

But their apprehensions are also lined with anticipation. While they’re leaving their old friends, they’re excited about meeting new people and exploring new places. But of course, they won’t be at the top of the totem pole anymore.

“It’s going to be hard to start over again as freshmen,” said Kate Van Hee, bound for Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Like now, we’re seniors and we’re at the top, but not anymore.”

Whatever awaits them, those headed off to college know it’ll be nothing like home.

“I’m nervous to have so much responsibility,” Van Hee said. “You’re forced to grow up.”

Part of the growing up means handling a tougher school load than ever before.

“I’m scared. I think it’s going to be a slap in the face work-wise, because we don’t do anything right now,” said Christy Madison, who will attend the University of Washington in Seattle. “

To ease into college life, some are taking part in a centuries old tradition and plan to join sororities or fraternities, while others want to play sports and join clubs, like community service organizations.

Local rodeo queen Hanna Nelson is full of plans, including pledging Kappa Alpha Theta and showing her horse at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Though the doubts about college creed up inside her, she pushes them away.

“Sometimes you wonder if this is what you really want, but I’m really excited,” she said. “Like today, I just wanted to get into my car and drive to Dallas right now.”

Vail Colorado


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