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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Twenty going on five: Student celebrates leap year birthday

KentWired Illustration by Gabby Lutz

For most people, 2024 simply means getting to watch the Summer Olympics or preparing for the chaos of the election year to ensue. However, for a very specific sub-category of people, it brings much more.

For Yusur Alrawi, a sophomore computer information systems major, leap year means getting to celebrate her real birthday for the first time since 2020 on Feb. 29. While Alrawi is turning 20 this year, in terms of birthdays she has actually celebrated, she is only five. 

On years when there is no Feb. 29, Alrawi has the choice of two different days to celebrate her birthday.

“It’s either Feb. 28 or March 1, whichever works better,” Alrawi said. ”I definitely feel unique because I have never met anyone born on the same day.” 

This distinguishing trait, which only about five million people in the world share, allows Alrawi to stand apart from most of the world’s population. Although she rarely gets to celebrate her real birthday, Alwari said she enjoys having a unique birthday.

“It doesn’t suck, it just makes celebrating your real birthday even better,” she said.

Leap year has much more behind it than just adding a day to the shortest month of the year. 

Associate physics professor Veronica Dexheimer said a year ”is defined as how long it takes for the Earth to go around the sun.”

She explained the circle the Earth goes in is not perfect, so the amount of time it takes varies year by year. This phenomenon is what leads to leap year. 

While leap year may seem like simply an extra day tacked onto February, it goes beyond that. If people ignored the existence of leap year, it would throw off the seasons and completely change how the year flows.

Dexheimer said if people didn’t follow leap year “protocols,” the effect wouldn’t happen right away, but it instead would take “about a century before things start feeling awkward.” 

Lauren Vaughn is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

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    Alana LiwoszFeb 15, 2024 at 4:23 pm

    As another leap day birthday at Kent, it definitely makes celebrating your big day that much better.