Seeking to develop individuality
I spent most of my early education running from being a triplet. For me, the brand of being a “Kelly triplet” meant that I could never be more than one-third of a set, instead of what I wanted: to be an independent person with my own thoughts and feelings apart from my siblings’ personalities. People have a fascination with triplets–they think we can read each other’s minds and that we’re carbon copies of each other, which made my goal of individuality difficult to achieve.
Everything changed in high school. Being a triplet no longer seemed to matter, because the “Kelly triplets” had been separated by different classes and activities, which led to different friends and substantially less interaction among the three of us than in elementary school. Yes, I would still occasionally make a comment about Carolyn and Devin that would result in a, “Wait?! You’re a triplet??” moment, but those were few and far between.
Those conversations would usually end in a “But you’re all so different?” remark that makes me smile. I like being my different, unique person and having the fact that I’m a triplet just be one of my many characteristics instead of the defining one.
I’ve been able to develop my own personality over the last four years. I can identify as a debater, an activist, a Peer Group leader and an Academy member, all of which are different roles from those of my siblings. Academy ensured that I wouldn’t share many classes with them, which was beneficial to my self-confidence and sense of individuality.
Sure, two of us have shared a gym class or a math class, but it often takes our teachers months to figure out that we’re related. Carolyn and I were in the same physics class junior year and our teacher finally figured it out during third quarter.
Now that I’ve successfully solidified my separate self, I’ve had to figure out how to come back to this triplet identity. As seniors, the three of us have to decide if we’ll split up and spend the next four years on opposite sides of the country, but we’re also closer than ever before. Carolyn and I are co-news editors of the Oracle, and for the first time in a decade, we’re all in the same class: sixth period International Relations.
Unlike in second grade, the last time we shared a class, I’m enjoying the experience because our teacher recognizes our different personalities and learning styles. We’re just another three kids in the class who happen to share the same last name instead of being the focus of attention.
I have the hindsight to see the positives of being a triplet. Few people have the built-in support system that I am lucky to gain from them, and even fewer have the motivation to succeed that only a same-age sibling rivalry can inspire. I am reminded daily from Devin not to take life too seriously, and I thank him for his ability to make me laugh. Carolyn’s conscientiousness has proven that I too can finish my homework and still achieve a decent night’s sleep (sometimes).
Right now, I’m facing the choice to go to college with my sister or to go off on my own. However, going together will be only one of many factors I consider when choosing my future school. I’m confident after our individual high school experiences that no matter whether I choose to attend school with her or not, I’ll feel strengthened, not constrained, by our relationship.