Mother and Daughter to Graduate from CSU Together with Same Degree
Graduating seniors at Columbus State University are about to embark on new chapters of their lives. Among them are Andrea Jones and her daughter, DeUndra Jones, who are set to walk the stage together as 2018 CSU graduates - both with bachelor's of science degrees in health science.
Andrea, who has always wanted to be a nurse, attempted to attend college in the past, but life got in the way. She often had to move due to her husband's career in the military. However, this time was different, her daughter DeUndra had just graduated from Shaw High School and decided she would join her mother at CSU. DeUndra, like her mother, had a dream of working in the medical field as well. With her own experiences in mind, Andrea advised DeUndra to go to school while she is still young, "before kids and a husband come along" as she would say.
While Andrea was excited to attend school with her daughter, DeUndra was less enthused. The two laugh as Andrea recalls a time when DeUndra saw her mom on campus between classes and texted her a message that said, "Don't talk to me. Keep walking and pretend you don't know me." This continued into their college experience until they took their one and only class together: biology. At first, they did not sit together in class. However, eventually DeUndra warmed up to the idea of sharing a class with her mom and even asked if they could sit together. However, when asked whether or not going to college together made them closer, DeUndra replies, "I think we were close enough already."
DeUndra lived at home with Andrea throughout college, along with Andrea's son who was also in school at Georgia Military College. They laugh as they look back on the many arguments that arose as the three college students all sought to use the one computer desk at home, especially during midterms and finals.
On campus, DeUndra found ways to ensure she felt just as connected to the social aspect of college life as the students who lived on campus. "My favorite thing about CSU is the events that they hold. Killing time between classes, I would go to different events on campus. You get a lot of free stuff that way. But you also get to explore your campus and learn more - even if you don't live on campus," says DeUndra.
In addition to managing school, DeUndra and Andrea also found the time to manage part-time jobs. Andrea worked as a medical clerk at Martin Army Hospital, and DeUndra worked at Subway and as a babysitter for twin babies. At times, Andrea would also help with the twins.
As Andrea's graduation began to approach, she realized that an extra minor would allow her to graduate with her daughter. With that in mind, she decided to add a sociology minor to her degree. Now the mother-daughter duo are set to graduate on Dec. 14. The extended family is scheduled to come in from out of town for graduation, but many do not know that Andrea and DeUndra will be graduating together. Most of the family believe they will be attending Andrea's graduation and will be surprised to see DeUndra walk the stage as well.
For Andrea, the milestone holds another special meaning. Thirteen years ago, Andrea's husband Charles Jones passed away. It had always been his wish that she would finish what she started in college. As Andrea and her daughter take to the stage, it will be the defining moment that finally fulfills that wish.