IDENTICAL twins from Glanmire, Sorcha and Merissa Horgan have been inseparable for most of their lives… now both are studying to be teachers.
Sorcha, 22, says: “Yes, we don’t do much apart really. We were always in the same class and on the same sports team. It has been like that from the word go.
“We bounce off each other. We have the same interests, sense of humour and friends — who can tell us apart from behind!
“People ask us all the time what it is like being a twin,” says Merissa, “but for us it is something we are so used to.”
Sorcha says sometimes they tell people they have twin telepathy, as a joke.
“Mind you, sometimes we do find ourselves thinking of random things and saying it aloud at the same time — and this even freaks us out a little!”
Apparently, the girls answer to both names too “due to being mistaken for each other all the time!”
They also have a 25-year-old brother, Niall, and the three all get along very well — he’s well used to twins!
“There are five sets of twins between our mum and dad’s family, including our own mom who is also an identical twin,” says Merissa.
The 22-year-olds have been inseparable for most of their lives and are now continuing to study together in the same course at Hibernia College, Dublin, the Professional Master of Education in Primary School. During their transition year program they worked for two weeks at St Joseph’s National School.
“This initially was when we both knew teaching was for us,” says Sorcha. “We loved school, education and working with children.”
They recently finished their first school placement block of six weeks and they absolutely loved it.
Merissa adds: “We’re still in college throughout the summer and it’s pretty full on. Between working part time, submitting dissertation assignments, preparing for exams and packing for the Gaeltacht, we’re busier than ever but we’re really enjoying it.”
Sorcha adds: “The first year has flown by and we are excited to see what next year has to hold.”
When asked what drew them to the course, Merissa says the main one was the flexibility.
“[It] gives us the opportunity to work part-time and to study in a time that suits us. It was a no brainer. We love the experience so far.”
And what makes it so flexible? A large portion of studies completed through Hibernia are done online. Sorcha describes it as 55% on-site and 45% online.
“The balance is ideal. It suits us perfectly. We travelled to Dublin on two occasions for conference days in DCU as part of the course. Apart from this, we just had to travel around the city from UCC, Sunday’s Well, Ballincollig and Griffith College for on-site days on Saturdays.”
And do they have a city apartment of their own? No, they are both happy living at home.
Merissa said: “Our dad reminds us regularly how he expects big payback when we hit our first full-time primary teaching job!
“Coming home after a long day’s study to our mum’s dinners was something we could not pass up. We really enjoy the comforts of home and are major family girls.”
Living at home has given the girls the opportunity to save on commuting costs, stay close to family and friends — and of course each other too... with limits.
“Presently, we study in separate rooms as the chitchat and laughter was getting in the way.
“We do realise how lucky we are to have each other though, especially when deadlines approach.”
Everything has its downsides though and studying from home is no different.
Sorcha says: “We wouldn’t say it is difficult but mostly you would miss the campus life. Although, we do accept the huge workload and high intensity of a Master’s degree, we try not to let it take over our whole social life. Getting balance is key!”
But how do you find balance when your education is completely in your own hands?
“This was something we had thought and worried about before applying,” says Merissa, adding that they quickly adapted to this way of studying with the help of their parents,
“It is not all sitting at home on your own in front of the computer. It is a blended course with plenty of hands-on aspects.”
Merissa and Sorcha work part time jobs too.
“Working separately gives us the independence we need. This is probably the only aspect of our lives when we are apart but we love it. It’s crazy — a lot of customers think there is only one of us working the two jobs!” says Merissa.
When they graduate in 2018 they hope to get their Diploma and work in Irish primary schools — but exploring the world (together or course!) is also on the cards.