Leaving behind the high school mind set (in their hometown of Fredericksburg) to dive into the free swim nature of college on one’s own is an adjustment for any student, but for four quadruplet sisters who were adopted at around six months, and now all attend Hollins together, that is not a problem. “We have never been apart, I have separation anxiety for one; staying together during this transition offers us a security blanket while we test the waters and expand our horizons,” says Jessica, the last born of the four.
The first thing people will notice when they meet the “Jackson four” is the individual streaks of color each has in their hair; Meredith – purple, Jessica – red, Stephanie – green and Mackenzie – blue. The girls’ demeanor is bubbly, warm and inviting, making for an enjoyable atmosphere as they talk about everything from growing up, identity crisis, and life at college.
RSS: How do you like Roanoke so far?
Jessica: The Mall is cool [Valley View]; it’s much better than the mall at home.
RSS: Just curiously, have any of you ever sought out your biological parents?
Jessica: We were told that our adoption was closed. [Our mother] gave us up for a reason and personally I don’t want to know what the reason is, in case it’s a bad one.
Meredith: And I don’t really want to know what my life would have been like if I didn’t have the parents I have now; I love my parents to death and just love the life I have now.
Jessica: I once thought about if we were adopted separately but coincidentally went to the same high-school, would we be friends? I always wonder about if we weren’t adopted together… The idea sometimes scares me because I don’t want to think about what life would have been like if they weren’t around.
RSS: So, when you were adopted did your mom have to take all four of you?
Jessica: No, she always knew she wanted a girl and she did already have two boys of her own. We have two brothers, 23 and 20. The story goes that she wanted a daughter and we just happened to come with three other people … she didn’t want to split us up.
RSS: You all strike me as high spirited people.
The Jackson’s: [Laughter]
Jessica: Yeah, we definitely are. A lot of people say if they’re down, just hanging around us can make them happy.
Stephanie: Normally we are so upbeat, energetic, and loud, people can hear us coming. They also say that we brighten up a room and that we should be in show business because we always make people laugh.
RSS: So do the hair color streaks symbolize something?
Mackenzie: They are our favorite colors. When we were babies to help tell us apart our Mom and Dad would give us specific colors
RSS: Do each of you know what you want to study?
Meredith: Yes! I want to major in music, probably get a teaching degree in that and minor in creative writing.
Jessica: I’m going to either major in creative writing, and minor in theater or flip-flop it; I haven’t decided yet.
Stephanie: I’m majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in music. I’m planning on writing a book later.
Mackenzie: I want to either do photography or creative writing. I don’t know which one I want to major or minor in yet, but I want to do both so I’m good with that.
RSS: What would you say is a common characteristic you all share?
Meredith: I think that would probably be our sense of humor.
RSS: How big of an influence are your parents in your decision making?
Stephanie: Generally what parents do for teenagers — like don’t drink and drive and stuff like that and I obviously wouldn’t do it because I don’t like the idea of drinking. Overall, like for deciding to come to Hollins, I came here because I was offered a lot of scholarships and it would save my parents money.
Mackenzie: Hollins offered us the opportunity to affordably stay together.
Stephanie: Because they would have to send all of us to college at the same time. And eventually when I write a book or become successful some of our money is going to go to our parents, so we can pay them back for everything.
RSS: How about something that would describe each of you as unique?
Mackenzie: I’m the funny one; I try to make people smile.
Stephanie: I hope you all don’t take offense to this, but I would say I’m the classier one.
Meredith, Jessica and Mackenzie at once: Yes!
RSS: Well Mannered?
Meredith, Jessica and Mackenzie at once: No, no, no!
Stephanie: I dress what I would call girly casual. In dress, but in some cases I can be more polite then them.
Meredith, Jessica and Mackenzie at once: Yes.
Jessica: I’m the bossy leader.
Meredith: I’m indecisive, but also the least influenced by the opinions of the others.
RSS: Do you tend to invest a lot outside of your sisters?
Jessica: We haven’t really had relationships or friendships outside of us that would interfere, we haven’t dated or had boyfriends … and that wouldn’t make a difference because at least two of my three sisters would have to like him and I’m pretty sure they would follow me on my first date anyway! But when it comes to all of our friends, it’s either someone who all of us are really good friends with or a majority of us.
Meredith: I’ve never personally asked any of my friends if they have found that in order to be friends with one of us they have to be friends with all of us. There is actually one person I’m not friends with anymore because of something like that…we are all on each other’s side right away without even thinking about it.
RSS: What are your long term goals while in college?
Mackenzie: To get another book written, for my senior exhibit I did a whole thing on writing and publishing, so I did a whole (self-published) book and it went well.
Stephanie: I plan on composing at least two more songs and I want to put together a CD of me either playing the piano or singing or both.
Jessica: There is also a book that all of four of us are working on that I think a lot of people would enjoy and I would like to get that published.
Meredith: I have no idea. I haven’t really thought about it except for starting my own band, because that’s something I really want to do.
RSS: Have any words of encouragement for people heading to college?
Meredith: Be happy that you’re not sending five people to college at one time!
Mackenzie: Ramen will become your best friend.
RSS: Okay, final question. A one-word phrase or name that sums you up. Go!
Meredith: Um, the purple menace.
The Other three: [Laughter].
Jessica: Big Red.
Stephanie: The girly one.
Mackenzie: She of constant laughter.
By Dustin Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org