Thousands of new University of Arizona Wildcat students are starting their journey through college Monday morning.

First-year students Elizabeth and Andrew Ghartey are settling into their dorms.

They’re eager to make the most of their new experiences on campus. But if or when they need a shoulder to lean on, the twins can knock on each other’s doors inside the Honors Village apartment building.

“I’m incredibly grateful,” Elizabeth said. “I think we both realized pretty quickly after our parents left that it’s really nice to have someone to lean on, to have another friend near by.”

The twins sat down to relax for a couple minutes Thursday morning. A number of their fellow students were still walking through the lobby door, taking the elevator to take their belongings to their new homes.

Elizabeth and Andrew finished unpacking their clothes, books and electronics a couple days earlier. “We had to wake up really early in the morning in order to make the drive to Tucson,” Elizabeth said.

The drive from the Phoenix metro wasn’t long, but Elizabeth said her parents helped them fit their bags in the car and trailer, like one would solve a jigsaw puzzle. “We actually spent the day practicing how we would pack the car,” she said.

Before the semester starts, they both said they’re starting to focus on the course load they’ve got on their fall schedule.

“How many credits are you taking?” Elizabeth asked Andrew.

“I’m doing 16,” he said.

“Yeah, I think I’m taking 18,” she replied.

Both Ghartey twins graduated from BASIS Mesa charter school in Mesa. Each sibling saw their hard work in high school pay off with prestigious scholarships.

Elizabeth is one of only 20 Arizona high school students who was named a Flinn Foundation Scholar in 2023. Because she earned a full-ride $130,000 scholarship, Elizabeth had options in attending the honors college at any of the state’s three public universities.

Andrew was named a standout student for the College Board National Recognition Programs and earned a four-year renewable undergrad tuition scholarship through UA’s National Scholars Tuition Award program.

Now, they have big goals in mind. Both of them think a degree and focus in engineering will help them get there. “Really throughout all high school, we had every single class together,” Andrew said. “I don’t even think intentionally, but there are a lot of overlaps.”

Here’s where the pair will pursue different paths in the College of Engineering: Andrew said he wants to focus on computer and electric engineering courses. Elizabeth said she wants to follow a path in biomedical engineering. On her visit and tour to campus, she said she was impressed by the research opportunities she could take advantage of, particularly in the BIO5 Institute.

“I realized that they had not only a lot of resources, but they were also a heavily research-oriented university,” Elizabeth said. “That was something I really wanted to get involved in in undergrad.”

Outside the classroom, the twins said they also want to expand their comfort zones by joining new clubs and trying new sports.

In sharing some of those checklist items, Andrew said he’d like to learn Portuguese and try the food at every dining hall on UA’s campus. Liz said she’d like to keep her volleyball skills sharp and play in an intramural league.

“I always say that I want to challenge myself so that I can keep improving,” Andrew said.