Graduation begins a new chapter apart from each other for twins

Mike and Mark Nakhla are used to receiving one invitation, not two, to friend gatherings, being mistaken for each other and called each other’s name by professors and even occasionally their mom, but most of all they are used to being by each other’s side.

Commencement marks a milestone in these identical twins’ lives not only because they both will receive hard-earned diplomas from Penn State College of Medicine but also because it marks a fork in the road where Mark will head one way and Mike the other.

Ever since they came to America from their home in Alexandria, Egypt when they were just 2 years old – they marked their birthday on the airplane – the boys have lived life together. They went through primary and secondary school together, chose the same college where they both studied neuroscience and came to Penn State College of Medicine, where – wait for it – they both decided to specialize in psychiatry.

“Every step of our lives, people have just known us as ‘Mike and Mark.’ They don’t know me and then realize ‘Wow, you have a twin brother.’ It can get annoying because we are our own people and we just happen to have a twin,” said Mike, who claims to be the more laid back of the two. “Being a twin, everybody instantly knows who you are; it’s kind of harder to define yourself and easy to let the twin thing define you.”

“It doesn’t really bother me when people associate us together. I saw it as a comfort and a support system you always had,” said Mark, who jokingly identifies himself as the better-looking of the two and the one who is always smiling. “This next stage will be a bit of an adjustment, a little scary.”

For their residencies, Mike will head to Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, New York, and Mark will be at UPMC in Pittsburgh.

Read more about Mike and Mark – and the journeys ahead for each of them – in this Penn State Medicine article.

Contacts: 
Last Updated May 17, 2017