Cheryl Strayed

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Cheryl left home "up north" for college in the Twin Cities—with her 40-year-old mother in tow. Her university, St. Thomas, offered free classes for the parents of students. "To prepare, she shadowed me during the last months of my senior year of high school, doing all the homework that I was assigned, honing her skills," Cheryl writes. "I graded her work, using my teacher's marks as a guide. I judged her a shaky student at best. She went to college and earned straight A's." 

Here, Cheryl is pictured just before her mother got her degree.