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Ohio Quadruplets Who All Graduated from Yale Say They Were Able to Carve Their 'Own Paths' at Ivy

·4 min read

When quadruplets Aaron, Nick, Zach and Nigel Wade left their Ohio suburb to attend Yale University together in 2017, the brothers hoped that they'd be able to further their education not as the headline-grabbing Wade Quads, but as individual people.

Now, with four years and multiple degrees under their belts, the siblings, 22, tell PEOPLE that that's exactly what they did - though the occasional campus run-in was welcomed.

"In high school, we all knew the same people. So in a sense, that didn't allow us to divert as much as we might've wanted to," says Nick. "But in college, because there's so many different types of people, and we had so many different diverse interests, I think we were able to carve our paths in our own way."

The Wade brothers graduated from Yale in May, celebrating afterwards at a local New Haven pizza joint with their parents, and with a graduation party at the home of a family friend.

Reina Bonta Nigel, Zach, Nick and Aaron Wade

Reina Bonta Aaron, Nick, Zach and Nigel Wade

Aaron wrapped up his college career with a double major in computer science and psychology, while Nick received a degree in political science, with a minor in Arabic. Zach double majored in chemical engineering and economics, while Nigel got his degree in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

It's those wide-ranging interests that the siblings say allowed them to construct identities of their own on campus - in fact, in four years, they only overlapped in class once, with Aaron and Nigel finding themselves in the same 2,000-person psychology lecture.

RELATED: Tx. Parents Have 'Amazing' Reunion with Newborn Quadruplets After Winter Storm Keeps Them Apart

"We grew up in this town where we had always existed as The Quads or the Wade brothers. But when we got to Yale, it was very much small fish in a big pond," says Aaron. "Nobody really knew who we were. I feel that when people met me at Yale, they met Aaron Wade, as opposed to one of the quadruplets."

Upon arriving at school, the siblings opted to be put into different residential colleges (Yale has 14 that are randomly assigned), and each dived into their own personal set of interests, making their own separate friends and only really seeing one another once or twice a semester.

Nick worked with refugees and immigrants, while Aaron got involved in the music scene as the musical director of a campus a cappella group. Zach, meanwhile, served as president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Courtesy Aaron Wade The Wade quadruplets

"I wouldn't just be walking on the street and just be like, 'Oh hey, there's my brother,'" says Aaron. "When that happened, I would be shook. I'd be like, 'Oh my God, I completely forgot that you go to this school.'"

RELATED: Mass. College Student Surprised by Marine Brother at Graduation After Not Seeing Him for 1 Year

Still, the comfort of knowing that family was just a stone's throw away made their four years at the Ivy League school "feel more like home," says Nick.

"It's a safety net that you already always know is there, and you know you'll always have people to support you," adds Nigel. "There's probably no one else on the planet who understands me better than my brothers. You know that there's someone who's going to be in your corner."

Reina Bonta Nigel, Zach, Nick and Aaron Wade

Now that they've graduated, the brothers' years of living in the same zip code will be over; Nick is working at Goldman Sachs in New York City, while Nigel will stay in New Haven for a two-year research program in a Parkinson's disease lab before applying to medical school.

Zach, meanwhile, will soon move to San Francisco to do investment banking for Goldman Sachs, while Aaron - who had a ceremonial graduation with his brothers - will stick around for one more semester to do his senior thesis before graduating in December and moving to New York City to work for Google.

"For a long time, it felt like we were all a singular collective unit of a protagonist in the same show," says Aaron. "Now, oh my God. I just get to sit back and flip through the channels in each of my brother's lives and be like, 'Whoa, he's doing this and this.' It was just cool to brag like, 'Oh, I have three brothers, and they're all so smart and talented.'"

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