Built-in best friends: Nelson quadruplets share their story about growing up together and choosing Southern

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Nearly 20 years ago, after years of trying for a baby, Wendy and Greg Nelson discovered that they were having not one, but four babies. The Nelson quadruplets, Sydney, Neal, Andie and Nikki, were born via surrogacy on March 22, 2001, 11 weeks premature and weighing two pounds each. The siblings are now freshmen at Southern Adventist University.

         Sydney, Neal, Andie and Nikki all said that they could not imagine life without their siblings. Growing up, they did everything together. Nikki said she “never felt lonely” because her siblings were always there to help her process the situation she was in. Andie described being a quadruplet as “having a built-in best friend for life.” 

         Growing up, the Nelsons said they never minded being together all the time — they enjoyed having each other’s company. If one sibling wanted to play soccer, they all went together to play. They never considered separating until the end of their high school career when college was approaching. However, all four siblings decided Southern was the university for them. 

         The quadruplets traveled across the country from Loma Linda, Calif., to Collegedale, Tenn., to study elementary education, health science, nursing and animation. 

Sydney was driven towards elementary education after being a teacher’s assistant in her cousin’s kindergarten class during her senior year of high school.

Since being on campus, Neal referred to the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD) as more than just a school, but a “community.” 

“What I like most about my department [SVAD] is how close we work with our professors. My classes have really pushed me to grow and get out of my comfort zone,” Neal said. 

While Neal isn’t certain what his animation degree will lead him to, he hopes to either work for an animation studio, go into game development or do freelance work.

This year, Nikki declared health sciences her major because of her interest in the field and her desire to help others.

“[This degree will] equip me for a future healthcare career in order to help others on their healthcare journey,” Nikki said. “I am staying open to God’s specific plan in my life.” 

Andie hopes to be accepted into the nursing program in the near future. She said her aunt’s passion for her job as an ER nurse inspired her to pursue a career in a similar field.

“I know it is a rigorous program. However, I take solace in the words of my aunt and family who encourage me,” Andie said. “Her influence will definitely help me as I go into the nursing program.”

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