The Semi-Daily Kaylie: How being a twin shaped me as a person

Courtesy photo by Pixabay.

I have a twin sister named Sarah, and we are polar opposites. I am older by more than an hour (a fact that my mother will never let us forget), but she’s been taller than me since we were 12.

She has long reddish-brown hair that’s thick and naturally wavy. I have fine blonde hair that’s straight as an arrow — unless I forget to brush my hair after I shower, then it’s a disaster.

Sarah is about five inches taller than me with long legs, a long torso and long fingers. I am 5-foot-4-ish, and I wouldn’t use “long” to describe anything about my physical appearance.

We butt heads often, and sometimes she drives me crazy, but I wouldn’t be who I am without her.

I don’t mean that in an ooey-gooey, “my sister is my BFF” sort of way. I mean that competing with her in everything for my whole life has turned me into a stubborn and competitive person, which, admittedly, has made me a better reporter.

I had to be better than her. I had to be smarter than her. I had to do more than her. I had to, quite simply, be more than her.

It’s not like our parents consciously pitted us against each other, and it’s not like it was logical to compete with her because we were involved in such different things.

She played soccer, and I quit soccer when we were 14. I danced competitively, and she danced recreationally. I did journalism, and she didn’t. I was in French National Honors Society, and she was in Spanish National Honors Society.

Even now, in college, we are still so different. We don’t plan to work in remotely similar fields.

And yet, I still want to beat her. It’s so ridiculous, but I can’t stop it. It’s like I’m hardwired to want to be better.

Nowadays, I don’t just have to be better than her. I have to be better than everyone. It’s a slippery slope down a mountain of self-doubt that ends in a very predictable crash and burn sequence, and then nobody wins. Definitely not me.

Kaylie McLaughlin is the assistant news editor for the Collegian and a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the ex-managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.