A New York mother and daughter both walked across the stage during their college graduation ceremony this month. Both Barbara Wiggins, 58, and Tanisha Wiggins, 36, completed an associate of science degree in human services at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse.

“I’m extremely proud of her. I really look up to her,” Tanisha told Good Morning America. “When I started school and [my mom] was going to school at the same time, that was really a proud moment for me.”

Barbara, a mother of five and a grandmother of 12 worked as a doula. Those around her inspired her to go back to school.

“I didn’t finish high school, so I had to go back to school to get my GED [diploma]. And I loved it,” she said.

She enrolled at Onondaga Community College in 2021 and received support from her family and teachers throughout her studies.

“At the beginning, my first semester, I had a professor named Tina May. She had everyone in the class get into groups every day, and we got to know each other, asking each other questions and pretending to be a counselor. It was nice. It was wonderful. And that’s how I got to know everyone in my class,” she told the news outlet. “I didn’t feel so out of place then because she made it seem so easy.”

On her end, Tanisha started her studies when she was 18. She spent time in and out of the hospital after being diagnosed with depression at a young age. This hindered her studies.

Now a mother, Tanisha says she started medication and began working. That’s when she decided to go back to school. She credits Onondaga Community College’s “Return to Complete” program and on-site day care for helping her complete her studies.

“I decided to go back after I had kids because I was like, I need to make a better future for them so that they can have a good role model to look up to,” Tanisha said. “I’m so grateful they have that day care at that school because I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Both mother and daughter hope they can serve as a source of inspiration for anyone wanting to pursue an education, no matter their age.

“[My mom] proved everyone wrong that thought she wouldn’t be able to do it,” Tanisha said. “She really got through it at the age she is now with tutoring and everything, and she went every single day. She did not stop. It didn’t matter what the weather was, she went. And I’m really proud of her.”

“Don’t think about it, just do it,” Barabara added. “Because if you keep thinking about it, you will keep saying, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this.’ But you can. [There will be] some struggles, but you will get over it. And once you start and get to know the professors and get to know all the other students, you’re gonna be glad you came. It’s excellent.”