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Aug 20 2017
by Caroline Mulvaney

5 Ways Being a Triplet Changed My High School Experience

By Caroline Mulvaney - Aug 20 2017
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My brothers and I were all born on the same day, about five minutes apart from each other. Me first, then Finnegan, then James. Which means we’re triplets. And before you start thinking about how cool that is and how it must be great to read my siblings’ minds, think about how they made high school even more difficult.

1. Everything turns into a competition.

This may always be the case with siblings, but with triplets, it’s a little more extreme. We’re on a level playing field. We all started out in the same place, had the same opportunities, etc., so there could be no claim of unfairness. And believe me, scores were closely kept. James was the first to get his license and is the best driver. Finn gets the best grades. I have the highest ACT scores. The pressure is constantly on for us to best each other. It added even more unnecessary stress to the high school experience.

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2. A lot of my time was spent trying to be a separate person.

I live in a very small town, so most of the time people would greet me with “Oh, you’re [insert brother’s name]’s sister!” It was very easy for people to lump us together as one main entity: “The Mulvaney Triplets.” They didn’t seem to understand that we are all very different people. Finn is a science whiz, while James centers most of his identity around playing baseball. I never felt like I had my own personal identity to put myself apart from my brothers. And in high school, trying to “find yourself” is hard enough without everyone combining you with two other people.

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3. Nothing could be kept secret.

Again: Small town, small school. I didn’t even go to the same high school as my brothers for the first three years, but you can bet I knew everyone they were dating and everyone they were fighting, because my friends had classes with them and told me. I also know every secret they hide from my parents, just like they know mine. I know when they get bad grades, and when my parents can’t get me to “open up” like they want me to, they send Finn on recon missions. Unfortunately, there’s no telepathy, but we can read each other like a set of open books.

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4. All of our friends are the same age.

This may not seem like a big thing. But think about it: It’s like we all have moles in each other’s lives, or friends who share classes with another sibling and can report back with any juicy gossip. It also means I had a bunch of teenage boys running around my house all through high school. I used to have the biggest crush on one of my brother’s friends, and it wasn’t weird because we were the same age – but that somehow made it worse. Unfortunately, that also means it’s not weird for my friends to crush on my brothers. Ew.

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5. I have two lifelong partners-in-crime.

Not to get sappy, but it was nice knowing that I always had someone who would come to pick me up from a party or a date without asking any questions or telling my parents. James has threatened more than one guy who has given me a hard time. I cleaned up Finn’s barf when he got “sick.” We all work together to make sure our parents don’t find out Snapchat is a thing. It’s a great symbiotic triangle between the three of us, one I would never give up.

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Even though being a triplet made high school so much more complicated than it had to be, it also made it a really developmental time for me, and for my relationship with my brothers. There’s nothing like bonding over a shared secret and tough homework assignments. They are very annoying, but I wouldn’t change a thing about having my brothers. 

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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Caroline Mulvaney - Georgetown University

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