Three Of A Kind: Aggie Triplets Prepare For Life After Graduation
The Barnes triplets always seem to find a way back to each other.
Logan, Luke and Lydee Barnes began their studies at Texas A&M University at the same time, they received their Aggie Rings on the same day, and this weekend they will graduate the same weekend.
Although separate career paths will take them separate ways for longer than they have ever experienced in their 22 years together, their shared experiences at Texas A&M formed new bonds that will help sustain their relationship no matter how far apart life takes them.
“When we came to college we weren’t in the same classes or even in the same major, so we had different friends, different teachers, different everything,” Lydee Barnes said. “It was a big adjustment to figure out what we were without each other. After four years of being at Texas A&M we’ve become better versions of ourselves. We’ve become closer than we ever were in high school. We’ve gotten to grow into our own people.”
The Barnes triplets were born May 14, 1997. Lydee came first, Logan next and Luke third.
Even though they were born healthy, parents Chris and Beth Barnes said the trio arrived home connected to monitors that tracked their breathing and heart rate. But their initial stresses and fears dissipated once they began to see how well they got along and cared for each other.
“They were inseparable,” Beth Barnes said. “They always played well together.”
“They were always well behaved and disciplined and obedient,” Chris Barnes said. “Really all-around good kids that turned into great people.”
As they grew older and developed more distinctive personalities, Chris and Beth noticed something different about Logan: he was the ringleader of the group who never seemed to wear anything other than camouflage.
“He’s been wanting to be a Marine before kindergarten,” Chris said. “Luke and Lydee will say he’s the hardest working of the three. The first to set goals.”
One of Chris’s lifelong friends was a member of the Texas A&M class of 1988. He also had a college roommate who became a two-star general in the Air Force. Beth’s grandfather flew in the Pacific during World War II. Those influences and Logan’s lifelong desire to become a Marine made the triplets gravitate toward Texas A&M.
“Logan wanted to go to Texas A&M from the beginning to be in the Corps of Cadets, then Luke followed suit because he wanted to be in the Air Force,” Lydee Barnes said. “I decided I didn’t want to be left behind.”
‘I felt two inches tall’
Following the initial challenge of enrolling to start school at the same time, they faced another in transitioning from a small high Christian high school in Carrolton, Texas, to a university with one of the largest student populations in the country. Being a little fish in a big pond could make a person feel small.
“Showing up for my new student conference was unreal,” Luke Barnes said. “On campus I felt two inches tall and wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.”
Although Logan and Luke were in close proximity to each other on the Corps Quad, the three were dispersed across campus between three different colleges.
With Logan in the College of Engineering, Luke in the College of Geosciences and Lydee in the College of Liberal Arts, spending time with each other would require some logistical planning. That included frequent football game day weekend trips to College Station for Chris and Beth, watching March-In and Lydee switching between Logan and Luke as a guest in the Corps section during football games.
But the separation and the expanse of Texas A&M’s 5,200-acre campus also meant that each of them would have a chance to make new friends independent of each other and carve out their own identities.
“It was nice to be my own person,” Logan said, adding that he wouldn’t always tell new acquaintances that he was a triplet. “I never broadcast being a triplet, so it was kind of a secret.”
The transition to college life turned out to be more difficult for Luke, who struggled academically during his first semester, but the built-in support system he had in his siblings combined with his own perseverance made for a defining moment.
“One of the proudest moments we’ve had was watching him fight his way out of a hole and get where he is today,” Chris Barnes said.
‘Better versions of ourselves’
While the boys had the Corps of Cadets, Lydee found her own outlet in Kappa Delta sorority and Class Councils, where she took special interest in the Aggie Rings for Veterans fund that raises money to buy Aggie Rings for student veterans. It was an experience that added more meaning to when she received her Aggie Ring alongside her brothers who would soon have military careers of their own.
Even as they made their own lanes on campus with the Corps and student organizations, their new social circles intertwined.
Lydee’s fiancée was a member of the Corps of Cadets and served as a Ross Volunteer alongside Logan. Luke tried unsuccessfully for years to get Lydee to set him up with one of her Kappa Delta sisters, only to later meet a Kappa Delta Sister in Impact during his junior year who would become his fiancée the weekend of Final Review.
While getting a set of triplets enrolled at Texas A&M at the same time was its own feat and ensuring they were on track academically to receive their Aggie Rings the same day was another, the fact that the three of them are graduating on the same weekend makes the Barnes family believe that the frequency at which they celebrate major milestones together is no mere coincidence. The stars just seem to align for them.
“We’ve felt like it’s part of God’s plan they experience all these things together,” Chris Barnes said. “They had a goal of finishing in four years from the beginning in order to stay faithful to themselves.”
Even as the Barnes family looks back at all the positive experiences, personal growth and change over the past four years, they can’t help but think about the future as Luke commissions into the Air Force, Logan commissions into the Marines and Lydee moves back home to Murphy while her fiancée finishes school.
In their 22 years, the longest they have been apart from each other was two months.
“There’s both excitement and fear just because it’s the pending departure of our kids,” Chris Barnes said.
Each sibling acknowledged staying in touch will be a challenge and that in-person reunions will be few and far between in the near future, but it’s something they’ve prepared for.
“When we go on our own paths it will be a bit of a test,” Logan Barnes said. “Obviously we’ve built that relationship over the last 22 years, but it’s going to require some initiative that we’ve gained throughout college.”
Graduation will be a three-day affair as Lydee graduates on Thursday, Luke on Friday and Logan on Saturday. But for the Barnes triplets, an opportunity to stretch out a few more precious days together with their Aggie family in College Station was a welcome proposition.
“Being part of the Aggie family isn’t that different from having my brothers around,” Lydee Barnes said. “You become a family when you get here, but I brought my family with me. I really got to experience the meaning of the Aggie traditions because I had them by my side to do it.”