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University of Missouri

Double Vision

Two sets of identical twins walk the halls of the School of Nursing.

Annie and Melissa Watsek, and Shay and Shelby Noll

From left, Annie and Melissa Watsek and Shay and Shelby Noll are two sets of identical twins in their last year of nursing school. Photos by Nicholas Benner.

On days when Shelby and Shay Noll walk out of their rooms wearing the same outfit, one of them inevitably has to change.

“Everyone will make a big deal about it,” Shelby says.

Annie and Melissa Watsek know exactly how they feel. It happens to them all the time.

“If someone doesn’t change, people will come up to us and say, ‘Why do you do this to us? You’re making it so hard!’ ” Annie says.

The Nolls of Salisbury, Mo., and the Watseks of Washington, Mo., are identical twins, and all four are in their last year of the clinical nursing program in the Sinclair School of Nursing.

Making the decision to change outfits is an easy one. Making the decision to come to Mizzou and choose the same major — that was harder.

“A lot of times people just assume we’re the same person,” Melissa says. “They think that because we’re doing the same thing that means I’m doing it because [Annie] is and we don’t want to be apart. But really, it’s something we both wanted to do.”

Annie compares the situation to a younger sister following in her older sister’s footsteps; only in this case, the sisters are separated by minutes, not years.

“Our personalities are similar, and our interests are the same,” Annie says. “There shouldn’t be a problem with us doing the same career.”

Shay understands. She and her sister attended a nursing camp in high school and have both wanted to be nurses ever since.

“We like the same things, so we just end up doing the same things,” Shay says.