At Cranston High School West there were three sets of triplets in this past school year’s graduating class. One set, the Marchetti triplets, shared their story of navigating through their senior year and through the college process as a set of three.
The Marchetti triplets, Ryan, Jordan and Allison, were born on April Fools Day in 1999, in that order, each one minute apart at 6:59 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 7:01 p.m., and according to their parents, Susan and Stephen Marchetti, those first three years of babyhood and toddlerhood was a blur. However, before they knew it, their children were beginning their first year of school at Faith Nursery School in Cranston. Both parents are educators, with Susan in Cranston and Stephen in Barrington, and their Septembers and Junes have always indicated the start and finish of a new school year.
This year’s school year will be a new experience, however, as now it seems that in a blink the triplets’ early educational careers are complete. Each graduated from Cranston High School West and the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center in June and are heading off to college in September; a new and different finish and start of school years.
Ryan, who completed CACTC’s CISCO/Forensics pathways program, is heading to New England Tech to pursue a degree in game design, and will be living at home, as the new dormitories at NET are for those who live out of state or at least 60 miles away from the school.
“I wouldn’t have minded living out, but I think I preferred living at home anyway,” Ryan said.
That will mean that the Marchetti nest won’t be as empty as it might’ve been, with just two of their baby birds leaving the nest at once this fall.
Jordan, who completed CACTC’s Early Childhood pathways program, will be attending the University of Rhode Island and pursuing a degree in Communicative Disorders with the intention of becoming a Speech Pathologist. Allison completed CACTC’s Interactive Digital Media pathways program and will be attending the University of Rhode Island to pursue a degree in computer science with a minor in digital forensics. Allison and Jordan will both be living in the same URI dormitory, although on two different floors-still close enough to each other but yet not together.
“We have shared a womb, and then a room, for the past 18 years,” said Jordan. “We’re ready to try something different. We started out wanting to live together but also thought that in a triple, that would be hard for one person to come in to a set of sisters who’d already been living together their whole lives.”
And Stephen got to work over the summer, adjusting the family’s chore chart so that only one name remained.
“I put every chore, every day, with an R next to it,” he joked.
According to Stephen and Sue, navigating through the college selection and application process was a part time job, with the beginning of the process more Sue’s responsibility and the financial part of the process which comes closer to the end, more on Stephen.
“The kids really wanted to be in state,” she said. “We went back to URI four times for tours and information sessions. We were looking at three different majors for three different kids at the same time and we often had to split up to be in multiple places at once.”
If Sue could start the process again, she’d start much earlier.
“I regret not starting earlier,” she said. “We started visiting colleges over the February vacation of their junior year. I wish that I had started the summer before their junior year. Once the kids are in their senior year there doesn’t seem to be enough time, between applications, SATs, application essays, the [graduation] portfolio, the FASFA and loan applications.”
Part of the struggle is just finding enough free time available to match up with school tour times.
“During senior year, we just kept going back and visiting URI,” said Jordan.
“Once they started applying, that’s when it became a full time job,” said Stephen. “The FASFA was so hard and so time-consuming and very overwhelming, and there’s not a lot of financial aid. We kept having glitches, trouble logging in because we were using three kids with the same birthdays at the same time and it kept only recognizing one.”
The Marchettis took their FASFA to the College Planning Center, housed at the Warwick Mall, but even there, the glitches kept happening.
“They could do one with us, but they couldn’t do more than one,” Stephen said. “It’s so hard to do in the first place, and then after all that work, to have someone say your accounts don’t exist, it’s just very stressful.”
“Everything that could’ve happened, happened,” said Jordan.
“We were definitely blind going into this whole process,” said Stephen.
Susan agreed that they were unprepared for the depth of the process.
“We had no idea all that was involved,” she said. “It was like going in with blinders on.”
It was a financial aid officer at New England Tech who was finally able to sit down with Stephen and the FASFA form and get the process completed, and for that they are grateful, as everything else hinges on the completion of that form.
Now, as move-in day approaches at URI, reality is beginning to set in.
“We are buying all the dorm things, times two,” said Sue. “It’s like setting up two apartments. Our dining room is full of stuff, our cedar closet is full. We had to find and buy all the extra-long sheets for the beds. We have had to buy two microwaves because of what their roommates already had.”
Ryan is contemplating what it will be like living at home without his two partners in crime and his parents note that he’s become a very protective “older” brother over time.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” he said. His school year will be on a trimester schedule, so he will head down with his parents to move his sisters in, but then have some time before he starts his own school year.
His sisters are a mix of nervous and excited as well.
“I’m nervous and excited at the same time,” said Allison. “I’m excited to live there, but it’s so big, I still get lost.”
Jordan has a solution to the issue of getting lost.
“Whenever we’ve been there before, we’ve been part of a huge crowd of people all going to the same place together, so I’ve always followed the crowd,” she said. “Now when we move in, I’ll just put my earbuds in and look like I’m listening to music, but instead I’ll have my Google walking directions on, trying to find my way to class.”
Stephen and Sue are also nervous about the changes that are coming.
“I’m nervous, I’ve had a headache the entire summer,” Sue said. “I’ve been trying not to let them know that I’m nervous because I don’t want them to be worried, but the way we live our lives as a family will never be the same again. It’s almost like the death of a lifestyle.”
“I separate the part about it being exciting and new, the start of a new adventure away from the part that there’s going to be two fewer kids in the house and the emotion that goes with that,” Stephen said. “I don’t want their college experience to be affected by that.”
Sue looks back at the past 18 years and suddenly it’s all gone by so fast.
“Those first three years were very hard, very long,” she said. “Now, their life has been a blur, a blip. It went by very fast.”
All along the way, although there was always three of everything all at once, it ultimately meant that there was only one of each milestone: one first day of kindergarten, one first day of high school and one graduation day, times three kids, and then each momentous occasion would pass, never to be experienced again.
Each member of the Marchetti Family knows that once again there is once again change on the horizon, -times three- as they begin this one huge milestone, and although they are not sure how things will look from here on in, they know it will now be very different.
“I miss you already,” Sue said.