On their second day at the new University Center of Southern Oklahoma, sisters Sharon White, Rhonda Kelley and Shonda Carney are studying together between classes.
 White, 52, is pursuing an Associate’s degree and plans to be an accountant. This is her second semester, and she’s prioritizing core classes like English Comp I and history. She said when she enrolled in college courses for the first time this summer, she was extremely intimidated.
“I’d look in the mirror sometimes and think ‘What are you doing? Why am I doing this? I mean, I’m a grandmother,” White said. “But once the classes start and you’re busy with your homework, it’s not so bad.”
Talking her sisters, 44-year-old twins Rhonda and Shonda, into joining her didn’t hurt either.
Rhonda Kelley said she wants to work in business or medical administration once she earns her Associate’s, but she’s also taking Criminal Justice as an elective this semester.
Shonda Carney is a self-published author who writes under a pen-name. Aside from supporting her sisters, she said she’s taking history classes for more inspiration.
“A lot of my [writing] is contemporary, and I want to do more historical settings,” Carney said.
After a fraught first semester, White, who’s lived in Ardmore since 2010, talked them into moving to Ardmore from McAlester to take classes at the center with her. They got to town the weekend before the semester started.
 “I kept telling them, ‘If I’m doing this, you need to do this with me, too,” White said. “I’m their sounding boards and they’re my sounding boards, we discuss a lot of things together.”
White said she still has those moments of panic, but with one semester behind her and her sisters in town, she feels more prepared.
“I always wanted to further my career, but I was raising my kids at the time. Then when they were grown, I was always working,” White said.
Kelley said that throughout their lives, it’s always just a matter of time before the three find themselves on the same path.
“It’s been like that for years. We all used to work at the state prison together as correctional officers,” Kelley said.
The trio unanimously agree that adjusting to using computers for every course has been the most difficult part of coming back to school.
“It’s hard writing books when you don’t know how to use a computer,” Carney said.