For family of three, college dream comes true

Ami Lamsal, Pragya Lamsal, and Parshu Khanal

One of Ami Lamsal’s core memories from Texas Woman’s was the quintessential wait outside the classroom. Leaning against the wall, waiting for the previous class to leave, drinking coffee, chit-chatting with classmates.

It’s an everyday, mundane experience for a college student, except Lamsal’s was a little unusual. The classmate that she gossiped with was her mother, Pragya Lamsal. Another classmate that she stood next to was her father, Parshu Khanal.

All three have taken a handful of computer science classes together at Texas Woman’s. They sat next to one another in classes, learned from one another and spitballed about grades. And, all three will graduate together on Saturday, May 13, during the School of Sciences commencement ceremony.

Khanal and Lamsal will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in computer science, and their daughter will graduate with a master’s of science in informatics with an emphasis in data science/data analytics.

When they started taking classes at Texas Woman’s, they did not foresee that they would all finish at the same time. But once they saw that it was a possibility, they focused on graduating together.

“We never got to see our daughter walk in commencement for her undergrad,” Lamsal said. “That was really sad for us being immigrant parents. We decided at one point last year, let’s graduate together. It’s been a very cheerful moment for us.”

The younger Lamsal graduated with her undergraduate degree in computer science from Texas Woman’s in 2020, when there were no in-person commencement ceremonies due to the pandemic. With a lot of job uncertainty, she decided to stay in school and work toward a master’s degree. Another big reason, she said, was so her parents could see her walk at graduation.

While the younger Lamsal was taking her undergraduate classes, her parents thought this was something they could do as well and both started to take classes. The elder Lamsal, who works full time as an MRI tech, found fulfillment in the classes.

“Personally, my childhood dream was to go to school in the United States,” Lamsal said. “We all came to the U.S. in 2002. I wouldn’t say life was hard, life was always beautiful. At one point, I said to my husband, I’m going to go to school. He helped, and then he joined. It became a family project for all of us.”

For her husband, who also worked full time while taking classes, it was a way to advance his current career in the technology field.

“I started in IT as a computer consultant,” Khanal said. “I started taking classes at NCTC. Initially, my plan was to get a certificate. My wife encouraged me to get a degree. Our daughter said it was a good opportunity.”

Most of Lamsal’s and Khanal’s classes matched up together and were mainly online. They think their professors knew they were spouses, so they were never paired in group projects. They were surprised when all three family members ended up together in classes.

“There were some intense moments when one individual was stronger in one subject,” the elder Lamsal said. “Overall, the experience was very joyful. We all drove in one car and discussed homework, teaching methods and what our grades were.”

After class, they would often go to dinner together. Lamsal remembers fondly a moment when her daughter got on her case for not remembering something on a quiz.

“Look at my child, telling me I should have done better,” she said, chuckling.

The younger Lamsal was five when her family emigrated to the United States. She says her parents, who are originally from Nepal, already knew English when they came to the states. But with the subtle differences in the spoken word and the written word, the younger Lamsal was able to help her parents by proofreading papers.

“I was always so proud of them,” the younger Lamsal said. “They started school later in life. There are moments when they humble me. Why did you get this grade? Why didn’t you get a better grade? That was always there, but they are my parents. But I would always switch it back on them. Why didn’t you get that grade?  That competitiveness, it’s not something you normally have with your parents.”

Pragya Lamsal, Ami Lamsal, and Parshu Khanal

She sees the upcoming commencement as a win-win situation, her parents get to see her walk, and she gets to see her parents walk.

“It’s crazy that I get to experience this with my parents. Usually, for immigrants, you come into the country, your parents sacrifice so much for you to live out your dreams. For me, yes, my parents sacrificed so much for me, but they are still pursuing their own goals. I think that is inspiring.”

The younger Lamsal is also proud of her own journey. Right after she started her master’s degree, she found a consulting job and has worked full time in addition to going to school. She hopes to eventually move into a data analyst role for a company.

All three expressed gratitude for faculty, staff and advisors who helped them accomplish their dreams.

“I loved my time at TWU,” the younger Lamsal said. “It feels like home. It’s such a small, close-knit little family. I’m glad my family is a part of that too.”

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Page last updated 9:44 AM, May 8, 2023