June 12, 2024

By DEVON SMITH Wendy Czaco and her two daughters, Nikole (left) and Brandi (right), enjoy their time at Conestoga together where all three attend classes.


Have you ever said or done something at school and thought to yourself, “Oh what would my mother say?”
Nikole and Brandi Czaco-Mah have. But in their case, they might just get an answer.
That’s because while they roam the halls of Conestoga, so does their mom. They might say it’s because she’s nosy. But mom prefers the terms interested and curious, as any first-year print journalism student would.
That’s right, while Nikole, 21, and Brandi, 22, go to their business foundations and business – marketing classes, respectively, Wendy Czaco-Mah is right around the corner, attending her own set of classes.
“I’ve wanted to go back for a long time,” she said. “But through raising the kids and everything, I just couldn’t see it … I didn’t feel I could do both.”
Before the kids came along, a bumpy childhood and lack of a high school diploma kept her away from college. That’s not to say she wasn’t learning, however, as she spent her youth travelling, picking up new languages and being adventurous.
Years later, Wendy found herself in a dead end job at a call centre and took it upon herself to get her Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate and apply to Conestoga.
As she and her daughters wrap up their first year at the college, the girls looked back on the experience.
 “It was a little weird at first, I’ll have to admit,” said Brandi. “When she was like ‘Oh I want to go back to college,’ I was like, really? But I guess it kind of grew on me and I see that she really enjoys it so, whatever makes her happy, makes me happy too. I’m happy for her.”
Little sis feels the same way.
“There’s times where I enjoy it and there’s times where it’s like, yeeeah my mom goes to college with me,” laughed Nikole. “But I think of it like she’s bettering herself. So, ultimately it’s going to better all of us. It’s great that she’s decided to come back to college and learn and get a better career. I’m proud of her and I think I’m pretty OK with it.”
The mother of two enjoys sharing the experience with her daughters too, and finds herself in touch with more aspects of her daughters’ lives than she might otherwise have been. Her program has kept her current on the ins and outs of social media.
“It’s really neat,” she said. “Because in a lot of other situations, mother and daughter situations, the mom is probably oblivious to a lot of it, like, she doesn’t get it, where I do because I’m learning at the same time they are.”
The caring mother drives her daughters to school, even on her day off, and occasionally makes a trio of lunches. Only “when she’s feeling nice” though, according to Nikole.
The car isn’t the only thing the family shares in the morning, however, as one room in the house becomes a hotbed of activity.
Every day their bathroom is filled to the brim with hair spray and estrogen as the college girls get ready for school. While Brandi and her mom use their height difference to share one mirror, Nikole applies her makeup using the other, perched atop the toilet with the seat down.
The three would all agree that this is a special time in their lives.
“Not too many people get to experience going to college or school with their parents or mom,” said Brandi. “I think it’s an interesting experience. It’s a nice way to keep us together and bond, kind of in a different way.”
Although the mother of two took print journalism, her passion lies elsewhere.
“I like to visually create,” she said. “So videography is my ultimate goal … but when I was doing my upgrading, both my English teachers said that I had a natural flow and a creative ability to write.”
Although the program is a little more structured than she’s used to and she doesn’t know if she’ll pursue print, she’s taking it in stride.
“You know what, I’m not losing by doing any of this. I’m learning a lot. I think that no matter what I end up doing, no matter what direction this takes me, whether it be the videography or wherever, I can’t lose.”