Mother/Daughter Pair Graduate From Columbia Together
In a graduating class of 200 in Columbia University's School of General Studies, two women stood out Monday. Manhattan reporter Rebecca Spitz filed the following report on a mother/daughter pair of graduates.
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It was a rare event in Columbia University's history — a mother and daughter graduating together.
Insaf and Zaynab Abdullah spent three years together in Columbia School of General Studies, where one studied political science, and the other Middle East studies. While the work was rigorous, they made it through, sometimes acting like mother and daughter, sometimes like friendly rivals.
"It was very competitive, she loves to compete. Like what grade did you get on your paper? How well did you do on your midterm? And in the end when I got a B+ and she got an A-, she was like ÎI did better than you did,’ she rubbed it in my face,” says mother Insaf Abdullah.
Insaf traveled a long road to get to Columbia. After immigrating to the United States from Palestine she learned English as a second language.
In 1981 she gave birth to Zaynab and 25 years later, they ended up in school together, each cheering the other on.
"I think any mother/daughter relationship is a close one, but I think because we've been through so much together and experienced so much together I would say it's a closer relationship and of course we'll be back and forth,” says Zaynab Abdullah. “I don't think we can stay apart for too long."
Their graduation is by no means the end of the road for the Abdullahs.
In two weeks Zaynub is moving to the Middle East.
And Insaf? Well, she says she's going to take a mini-break and then apply to grad school.
— Rebecca Spitz