You’re not seeing double! Twin brothers Kishan and Arjun Padalia are among the 117 Class of 2019 M.D. graduates, becoming the first set of identical twins to graduate from the UCF College of Medicine.
“It was like having a built-in support system, having my brother by my side for the last four years of medical school,” said Arjun. “We lived together, studied together and it was always good to have someone that thinks very similarly to you, that has the same struggles, that you can confide in and bounce ideas off. It kind of just made the obstacles a little bit smaller.”
“To add to that, I would say we were each other’s motivation,” says Kishan, the slightly older of the twins. “Just seeing someone constantly next to you, with the same skill set, same experiences, working hard, it motivates you to work hard as well. Whenever one of was feeling super motivated, and the other person was feeling a little lazier, we would be there to push each other.”
The twins are first-generation immigrants, the only children for their parents who moved from India to Brandon, FL where the twins were born. Medicine is deeply rooted in their experience. Friday, the twins became the 13th and 14th physicians in their family. Both agreed that they chose medicine because it combines their love for science with the ability to help others.
“Medicine has a unique combination of impact and problem solving that you can’t really get in any other field,” Arjun said. “So it intellectually satisfied us but also give us a way to kind of make an impact in the world.”
Before coming to UCF, the twins separated for undergrad – Arjun went to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, double majoring in philosophy and biochemistry, while Kishan did a triple major in molecular biology, history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh. They didn’t plan to plan to come to UCF together – “it just happened that way,” they said.
“We didn’t even plan which schools we would apply to,” said Kishan. “We applied to completely different schools, and UCF was one of the mutual ones. Once we got our acceptance letters, it was an easy decision. We both liked the program, we were blown away by the innovation, and the prospect of going to med school together was definitely on the pro side of the column.”
At UCF, classmates say they were able to tell the twins apart because of their personalities – Arjun is the introvert and Kishan the extrovert.
“We noticed faculty members, however, would avoid saying our names while talking to us, because they didn’t want to get it wrong,” Arjun said.
While the two never shared clinical rotations together, toward the very end of medical school they both ended up at Nemours Children’s Hospital where Kishan was doing training in pediatrics, and Arjun an elective in pediatric gastroenterology.
“We had both done clerkships at Nemours before, but at separate times,” Kishan said. “So this was the first time we were there together and that’s when everyone realized how much we looked alike. Basically everyone – attending physicians, nurses and patients — got us mixed up.”
Their residency training will take them on separate paths. Arjun will train in neurology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, while Kishan will train in internal medicine at the University of Michigan.
“We’ve always been really close, so even though we’re going to separate states and different specialties, nothing will change,” Arjun said. “We’ll still talk every day, share our experiences and always be there for each other.”
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