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A family affair: Sisters attend college together with mom and grandma

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 09, 2023 5:05 pm

A family in Wisconsin is proving that it's never too late to pursue your dreams, as they all start school together this fall.

In a report by Good Morning America, 18-year-old Mia Carter will be entering her first semester as a freshman accounting and marketing student at Carthage College along with her 49-year-old mom Amy Malczewski and 71-year-old grandma Christy Schwan.

Meanwhile, her 19-year-old sister Samantha Malczewski is also starting her sophomore year in the same college as a nursing student. 

Samantha admitted that it came as a big surprise for her when she learned that both her mom and grandma would be joining her and her younger sister this fall.

"I was clearly already admitted, [Mia] was admitted. And then all of a sudden, they were like, 'Oh, we're going too,'" the nursing student recalled. "It was really surprising. I didn't expect it."

But Mia didn't echo the same surprised reaction as she already had a suspicion that her mom and grandma were interested in going back to school.

"My grandma's mom just passed away and I think my mom had a realization that your mom's not always gonna be there … and I think it's just the fact of them literally going to the same classroom every day, probably working on projects and just gaining another aspect of spending time with her, like that good quality time [was a factor]," Mia told the news outlet.

Amy—who had worked at the Kenosha-based college for the last 22 years as a spirit team director, graphic design instructor, and career specialist for students—said that she wanted to enroll there as she still had unfulfilled goals to achieve.

"I have a little time now. I'm like, you know what, I should get that graduate degree I've always wanted. And Carthage has this amazing program, this master's in business and design and innovation, which is really in line with all the things that I love," Amy said.

Once she made up her mind, Christy soon followed in her footsteps after realizing they could embark on the journey together. 

"[Amy] said, 'I'm thinking about doing this.' And I said, 'I really think you should.' And she said, 'Well, I think you ought to consider it too.' And I'm like, 'Oh, my gosh, I think you're right, we should do this together,'" Christy recounted.

"It's helped fill an empty space for me since my mom's gone," she added.

Now that Amy and Christy are classmates and are on the same path to attaining their master's degrees in business, design, and innovation, the two are hoping to inspire their peers to continue pursuing their education regardless of their age.

"Life is short, so I tell people to push their doubts aside and go for it," Amy told PEOPLE in a statement. "It’s especially sweet to go through this experience with my mom."

Christy added, "Age is no deterrent in education. Older students bring a valuable perspective to class discussions."

Carthage College meanwhile applauded the three generations of women for serving as a reminder of "the power of lifelong learning."

"It's been inspiring to see Amy, Christy, Sam and Mia dive into some of Carthage's strongest programs in business and nursing and each find immense value—even at vastly different stages in their lives and careers," the school said in a statement.