Thursday is special for a small group of University of Alabama students who are celebrating single-digit "birthdays" on this rare Leap Day.

February 29th, of course, is only added to calendars every fourth year, a clever tactic used throughout history to make up for rounding down the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun to exactly 365 days.

That rounding down would eventually throw the entire calendar out of whack over decades and centuries, so Leap Days were introduced to keep the way we track and experience seasons consistent.

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For 14 students at the University of Alabama, February 29th is also their birthday, making the every-four-year event even more special.

Although the students are technically in their 20s and 30s, they have only experienced a calendar birthday a handful of times.

“This year for my 5th birthday I am planning to have one of the biggest birthday celebrations I have ever had!” said sophomore Grace Williams from Austin, Texas. “Not only am I entering my 20s this year, but I am also turning 5 years old. Both of these things feel like such huge milestones for me.”

Leapling students profiled by the University said their birthdays are certainly unusual, but most wouldn't change it.

“Yes, it is unfortunate when you have to have a fake birthday most years, but I wouldn’t trade my birthday for anything,” said Savanna Gillespie, a sophomore criminal justice major from San Diego.

Kimberly Hoyle, a Tuscaloosa native and UA Online student studying nursing who celebrating a ninth birthday this year, agreed.

“I think as leaplings we get a special perspective to how fast life events go by,” she said. “Birthdays don’t feel as special or ‘real’ during off years, so when leap day comes there is a want to make it extra special. As I get older, it has become a moment to reflect over the last four years.”

The students, like Gabrielle Chukwu, a news media major from Dothan, also talked about the strangeness of only having one "birthday" during her four undergraduate years at Bama, but said it just means they'll have to make the most of things today.

“Having a leap year birthday is so cool in my opinion,” Chukwu said. “Of course, it’s a little weird not having an actual birthday every year, but when Feb. 29 does finally come around, it makes it feel all the more special.”

Happy Leap Day, and happy birthday to these special UA students.

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