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Have you ever gone to college with a sibling? Or two?

By Alexander Mousa, Editor-in-Chief

For most people, seeing siblings in class or around the halls typically ends after high school. However, for the Kaim family from Long Island, attending school with siblings was an undergraduate task. Not only did these three siblings attend the same university, but they did it as triplets.

Shayla, Brandon and Ryan Kaim grew up in Hicksville, N.Y., just minutes from the Post campus. The trio graduated from Hicksville High School in 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they did not initially plan to attend the same university, the puzzle pieces for another four years together quickly fell into place. 

“We all applied to different colleges, I applied to over eight on Long Island,” Shayla said.

Shayla, an early childhood special education major, was the first to commit to Post. Next, Brandon, a computer science major, committed. Finally, Ryan, an adolescence social studies education/special education major, joined his two siblings. They say that the school’s reputation and knowing family and friends who attended the university led them all to eventually choose Post. Shayla and Ryan were drawn to Post’s education program, while Brandon found the small class sizes–in comparison to other technical colleges–especially appealing as a computer science major.

The Kaims say that the reactions from friends and family were positive. Many didn’t expect them to go to college together but found it cool.

The Kaim triplets: From left to right: Ryan, Shayla, and Brandon.

“We announced it in an Instagram post and everyone was like ‘Oh, that’s odd. That’s crazy, but cool,’” Shayla said. “I don’t think people expected it, to be honest. I think they all thought we were just going to go our separate ways.”

The three do say that they carpool to school sometimes, as they are all commuters. Carpooling depends on when their classes fall, which makes it easier for Ryan and Shayla as they are both education majors.

Throughout their four years at Post, the Kaim siblings had a unique experience that they say was beneficial and positive for them.

“When we were choosing classes the first year, I don’t think we had the same classes together,” Shayla said. “Then the following semester, we all chose sociology together. All of us being in the same class was nice because we always had someone to rely on if we needed help with something. I could always turn to him, or to him, to make sure that I was correct on something. I always felt like I had a friend.” 

In addition to having their siblings on campus, the Kaims say that Post was an environment where they felt supported by faculty during their undergraduate education.

“It feels like you do have a support system behind you with these professors,” Ryan said. “A lot of them, especially in the education field, are very open and very relaxed, so it’s very easy to get through it if you’re able to put in the work.”

Though in a different major, Brandon agrees with his brother’s sentiments about Post as a campus and university.

“For me, I guess LIU gave me experiences I didn’t think I would get in college,” Brandon said. “I honestly thought every day I was going to go to school, go back home and do nothing else, but I was able to get close to some of my professors since there’s only two in the Computer Science department… Also, the Esports Club here brought me some opportunities, like an internship.”

Shayla expressed similar feelings as her brothers, sharing how being on the Women’s Bowling team, as well as joining other groups and organizations such as the Teaching and Learning Association and the Graduate Committee for the Education Department, where she was able to give feedback on the program.

Additionally, the Kaims did peer mentoring for the freshman class Post 101.

As many students know, getting along with your siblings can be difficult at times. The Kaims shared that while there were moments of “typical sibling issues,” they were always by each other’s sides. 

“I think for most of the time we were on the same page and we were able to help each other,” Ryan said. “But there are some moments where you get into your typical sibling issues where you guys kind of get mad at each other for a couple of minutes and then eventually it cools off. I think that when I need help and then they’re like ‘I’m too busy to do this,’ I get frustrated with them. Eventually, cooler heads prevail and then you get back to doing whatever you need to do.”

While many sets of triplets don’t all go to the same university, the Kaims’ experiences over these four years could give a lot of insight to other people entering similar situations. The main piece of advice they would give to another set of triplets in their shoes is to work together and keep close relationships.

“You can kind of branch off of them,” Shayla said. “You can make more friends with their connections if that makes sense.”

Brandon spoke about how going to your siblings for advice and guidance when you have an issue can be beneficial.

“Let’s say you have a certain struggle and your sibling overcame it, then you can just go to them instead of having to go to either a guidance counselor or one of your friends,” he said.

Sticking together proved to be important for the triplets, as Ryan pointed out that the experience provided him with a great support system throughout his college years.

“Honestly I can’t imagine life without doing this and having either one of them with me because I really feel like this was how it should have been,” Ryan said. “I feel like this was the best-case scenario and I don’t know how I would’ve done if I would’ve been alone. I think it’s great to have this kind of support system and to [do this with] people that I’ve lived with all my life.”

The siblings all look back fondly on these years. While their situation is unique, their message of the importance of sticking together can resonate with anyone who has a sibling. 

While all three Kaims are graduating this year with their bachelor’s degrees, Ryan and Shayla will be staying to get their master’s degrees at Post. They will also have a new third member in their carpool, as their younger brother (and only other sibling) will be coming to Post in the fall as an undergraduate freshman.

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