3 in 33,000: Keeping it all in the family

Kristin Hirai

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Carla Adelmann (center), 57, photojournalism major, with daughter, Amber, 22, English and creative writing major, and son Ben, 24, philosophy major. The three enjoy attending CSUN together and have bonded more as they share their college experience. Photo Credit: Kristin Hirai / staff reporter

For most, college is a time to test our independence, transition into adulthood, and establish our own lives usually without parents. However, for the Adelmann family, it is quite the opposite.

After being a stay-at-home mom since the birth of her children and running an independent portrait studio out of her home in Chatsworth, Carla Adelmann, 57, has decided to come back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

“I’ve always wanted to go to CSUN since I was born and raised in the Valley,” said Carla. “It’s really nice that I live close to CSUN because I know they have a really good media program, and I’m really enjoying my four classes. I like going to school because it’s a promise, even at my age, for a different life and independence.”

Also in attendance at CSUN are her two children, Ben and Amber.

Ben, 24, philosophy major, explains that in addition to the three carpooling to school, they are also involved in the same campus organization.

“All three of us are involved basically in the Campus Outreach Response Team (C.O.R.T.) with the CSUN Chaplin,” said Ben. “So, we’re involved on campus a lot with different things because we help out that organization with other organizations. It’s not like you have to be Chrisitian, but it is Christian based. The team has gone out and helped Katrina victims, people that were displaced from last year’s Sylmar fire, and the Chatsworth train crash.”

Furthermore, Carla explains that they hold weekly C.O.R.T. meetings at their house every Tuesday.

“She’s the Mom of the group and everyone just loves her,” said Ben.

As far as following the traditional college break-away from parents, Amber, 22, English and creative writing major, couldn’t be more thrilled to share her college experience with her mom and brother.

“Whether we wanted to be more independent or not, we’re all learning how to unite through this time and it’s really been a cool experience since a lot of people don’t have that,” said Amber. “We’re just best friends. We’ve really created this unique bond, and I like telling my friends that I go to school with my Mom.”

Carla also feels that going to school with her children has been a blessing.

“I know that some of my family and friends who have more money, send their kids off to school right after high school graduation and they’re pretty much separated after that,” said Carla. “But I’m kind of glad that I couldn’t afford it because I get to be a part of their lives more. It’s a healthy thing where I’m looking forward for them to start their lives and going off on their own when they graduate.

With strong career ambitions, all three have different paths that they intend to explore after graduation.

“I would like to get a job, possibly at a magazine,” said Carla. “I would even like to do documentary photography around the world. My heart is definitely in documentary.”

As for Amber, she currently attends CSUN and Mission College simultaneously and is in the process of deciding between two different career choices.

“I’m not sure what I want to do with English, but I really love to write, so some form of writing is an option,” said Amber. “I’m also taking two culinary classes at Mission College. I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef since I was little. So I’m not sure whether I want to transition into culinary arts after I get my B.A. or find a job writing.”

In addition to considering becoming an artist or a lawyer, Ben also has his sites set on something more international.

“After I get my Bachelor’s [degree] I want to go and teach English in Japan,” said Ben. “About five years ago, I went on a mission trip to Japan and I just felt that [teaching] there is practical with the job situation here. With teaching English, it is the one asset that we all have as native speakers.”

Despite what career paths they choose to follow after earning their Bachelor degrees, their close bond and friendship is the one element that Adelmann’s will never loose. They are truly an example of a supportive, loving family whom are excited that they are able to share this time in their lives with each other.