Suzanne Gahagan will be attending her daughter’s graduation at Carleton this week- as a fellow graduate.

After almost two decades being away from school, Suzanne Gahagan went back to school to get a Master’s in Legal Studies. - At the same time her 24-year-old daughter Mackenzie Gahagan Stewart.

Suzanne says, “I did a lot of other things, work and the kids.  It was just always there so I thought I want to go back and do it!”

Suzanne says she broke the news to her daughter lightly. There were adjustments at home and in the classroom- but Mackenzie calls it “a blessing” to go through this experience with her mother- who she also calls one of her best friends.

“It was an adjustment at first because I didn’t know how that dynamic would be in the classroom and how you would bring in that mother-daughter dynamic and how that would shift,” says Mackenzie.

They kept their relationship secret at first to their fellow classmates. Mackenzie explains, “We wouldn’t fess up because we thought it would change how people perceived us, but towards the end we just became open about it and embraced it.”

The Gahagans would talk school at home, would help each other with their presentations and homework.

Suzanne says their relationship grew stronger in the process. “Like travel when you travel with someone, if you have a strong relationship you finish the journey in a stronger position

The two women aren’t sure what happens after graduation. Mackenzie is thinking of taking a year off to work and decide what comes next. Suzanne is already thinking of a PhD.

Their commencement ceremony takes place on Wednesday at Carleton’s Fieldhouse.