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Mother and daughter: a tale of two graduates

My mom and I do everything together including graduating from college.

Last December, at the same time as I got my B.A. in English from Le Moyne College, my mom, Margaret, received her bachelor of professional studies in organizational leadership from Syracuse University after a gap of many years, several major shuffles thanks to program retirements, and having three kids.

Something about the breath-sucking, but brain-tingling work of higher education must have called to Mom when, during my senior year of home schooling, I started taking college courses at Onondaga Community College. While she was still home schooling my brothers Alex and Allan, she enrolled in undergrad courses at SU and OCC to finish her degree. And, just as she'd been helping me to study all my life, I returned the academic support.

After many hours spent at the table cutting apart, elaborating upon and taping together papers, she became a successful older student even with what she referred to as an already full brain that couldn't hold any more information. We took an ethics course online together, in which, yes, she managed to tell a story about when I was a little Disney girl (although I set myself up for it). In our term papers, we argued opposing sides. Even now we still joke about "you Kantians" and "you Utilitarians." When Alex started college along the way, he and Mom took a geology course together, and, later, two brutal math classes. At SU, I crashed her classes from time to time including another philosophy with our ethics professor. And she came to my presentations at the Scholar's Day conferences, and the time I read the English side of the program when Spanish author Jes s Aguado visited Le Moyne. She borrowed my textbooks from SU's library; I taught her how to use Google Docs. We each won prizes in the 2008 Women's Studies Essay Contest at OCC. And we both hung out on our deans' lists.

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