It's back-to-school season, and for three siblings from Baltimore, Maryland, they're kicking off their college careers this fall at historically Black colleges in Atlanta, Georgia.
Morgan, Sanai and Tony Hicks Jr. told "Good Morning America" they're "excited" to begin the next chapter of their lives. Morgan and Sanai Hicks will be freshmen classmates at Spelman College, while across the street, Tony Hicks Jr. will join the Class of 2027 at Morehouse College.
Morgan Hicks plans on majoring in biochemistry while her sister Sanai Hicks will be a political science major. Meanwhile, Tony Hicks Jr. is starting a dual-degree engineering program at Morehouse with a focus on applied physics.
"I think we all had in mind that we wanted to stay together if we could and that's just how it worked out," Sanai Hicks said.
For the triplets, their adult lives may just be beginning, but looking back, mom Sharnetta Hicks and dad Tony Hicks Sr. said it's impressive to see how far the 18-year-olds have come.
The Hicks triplets were born early at 27 weeks on Feb. 2, 2005. The parents said doctors told them at the time they thought Tony Hicks Jr. would "die in utero."
"I said to them, 'I don't believe that's going to happen. I believe he's going to be fine. You can deliver all three of them,'" Sharnetta Hicks recalled.
Tony Hicks Jr. and his sisters all survived. For a while after their birth, however, Sharnetta Hicks said her own life was also in jeopardy.
She said she survived a life-threatening infection that spread to her bloodstream after her triplets were born and was told she had a drug-induced fever during her hospitalization.
"I didn't see them for two weeks," Sharnetta Hicks continued. "I wasn't aware that in recovery, I woke up, I was actually strapped to a bed and I was intubated and I didn't know what actually occurred ... I should have died within the 24 hours that they were born."
The couple said the triplets then had to spend the first two months of their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit before they could head home with them.
"When they were first born, we couldn't actually hold them," Tony Hicks Sr. recounted. "They were so small -- Morgan was 1 pound 12 [ounces], Sanai was 1 pound 14 [ounces], Tony was 2 pounds. When they were in the NICU, we could only kind of ... let them grab our finger, or you could touch them but you couldn't really move them."
Today, the proud parents call their triplets "miracles." They said their collective journey so far "has been incredible."
As they embark on their college careers, the siblings say they're looking forward to nearly everything from academics and leadership opportunities to Greek life and, for Tony Hicks Jr., basketball season.
Tony Hicks Sr. said he feels "very proud" of his 18-year-olds and is "extremely excited" to see what the future will hold for his beloved children.
"It's been a very rewarding feeling, just seeing all of the hard work that they've put in come to fruition," Hicks said. "They've studied diligently and put the work in, and to see them accepted into over 40 schools, 40 colleges and universities each, and then they all choose Spelman and Morehouse, which are considered the top HBCUs, it's a very, very rewarding feeling."