Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2014

Quadruplets Seek Individuality at Oklahoma State University

No, they can’t communicate telepathically and they don’t finish each other’s sentences, but they have always been local celebrities.

Oklahoma State University freshmen Jamie, Michael, Scott and Shelby Dobrinski are quadruplets from Okeene, Okla., a town of 1,200 where everyone knows the “Dobrinski quads.”

Before the quads were born, their parents, Mike and Ginny, were told there was only a one in a million chance the fertility method they used would allow all four of their fertilized eggs to successfully grow. “We had a one out of 30,000 chance that one egg would attach, and a one out of 700,000 chance of
all four taking,” Ginny said. “We should have bought a lottery ticket that day because we beat amazing odds!”

The siblings were born two months early and stayed in the hospital for 44 days. “We were born on December 18, so we spent our first Christmas in the hospital,” Shelby said.

“Counting to four became a way of life for us,” Ginny explained. “Only once did we make it to our respective cars with only three. We panicked, rushed back into the house and found the wayward quad patiently sitting in the carrier.”

Having four children in tow did not stop the Dobrinskis from the joy of traveling. “We took lots of family vacations over the years,” Ginny said. “One of our favorites was when we went on the road for two weeks with a camper and four 10-year-olds. That trip included a tour of the Grand Canyon. I still have nightmares about them playing follow the leader right over the edge.”

Like most parents, Mike and Ginny worried about the financial strain of cars and college. “Being a car dealer does not make me immune from the economic pain of purchasing cars,” laughed Mike. “We agreed to pay for half of their first cars and they worked for several years to save for that. Two of the
kids bought new cars while the other two chose very nice used ones.”

“The cost of college is certainly a challenge,” explained Mike. “We began saving very early on and have tried to be prepared, but we simply could not save enough for all four to be completely ready to pay for college. If they have to borrow money to finish their college degrees, it will be OK. They will understand the commitment and the need to make the most of their opportunities at OSU.”

As fraternal quadruplets, the siblings don’t just differ in looks – each has found his or her own space at OSU and has a unique major. Jamie is studying business management, Michael studies graphic design, Scott is majoring in fire protection safety and engineering, and Shelby is a human development and family sciences major.

“College is really exciting for us because we all wanted to branch out and find our own place in Stillwater,” Shelby said. “We wanted to gain some individuality since we have been pushed together as a group since we were born.”

“I like how big OSU is,” Jamie said. “After being stuck in a small town for 18 years, it’s nice to meet new people.”

Mike and Ginny frequently brought the quads to Stillwater over the years. “Both our parents went here (OSU),” said Scott. “We’ve been coming here our whole lives.”

“Stillwater has a homey campus,” Michael injected.

Participating in academia and athletics are important for Michael and Jamie. “I live in a learning community with some of my classmates,” said Michael. “I also play intramural flag football and softball.”

“I’d like to get involved in the business college’s student board,” Jamie added. “I like to play intramurals, too. I played football, baseball and did track in high school.”

Involvement in Greek life has made the transition to college easier for Shelby and Scott. “My (sorority) sisters always have my back,” said Shelby. “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t joined Gamma Phi Beta. It’s awesome, I love it.”

“Being in AGR has been great,” said Scott. “If I’m struggling with classes, there’s always someone who can help me. We also have Bible study twice a week, which I really love.”

Despite their differences, each of the Dobrinski siblings started OSU this semester knowing that there was always at least three people on campus to share in the journey of the college experience. It’s obvious they can expect many more before graduation.

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