MICHAEL and Tim Shevchenko may have studied different degrees, but both describe reaching graduation as a team effort.
The father and son graduated from the University of Newcastle on Friday with a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) (Honours) respectively, which they studied for in adjoining rooms in the family's Wyoming home.
"This is a milestone in our family history," Michael said.
"Never would I have dreamed I'd be on stage with my dad graduating," Tim said.
"I feel a lot of emotion and know this will be a memory I will value for many years.
"But it doesn't have to be the end - you may see us together again getting doctorates.
Related: Read more education news here
"When my son finishes school I will say to him 'Your grandfather went to Newcastle, your father went to Newcastle, you may as well carry on the tradition'."
Father and son leaned on each other for support while they each juggled full-time employment with study.
Tim said he helped his father with time management and planning and Michael helped him with grammar and formatting for assessments.
"It was a big challenge for me in my first trimester because the education process here in Australia is completely different to when I was studying [to work in radio engineering for aircraft] in Moscow in the mid 1980s," Michael said.
"Without support from Tim I would have failed my first exams."
Michael said he had moved between several roles in recent years, including account manager, support engineer and business analyst to his current role as an SQL developer.
"When you have an officially recognised business administration degree your career path becomes much more promising and easier," he said.
"You gain very valuable skills and knowledge that I can apply directly in my everyday work, which is wonderful."
Tim was initially interested in engineering and mechatronics, before he stumbled upon a construction management presentation at a university open day almost five years ago.
"I thought 'That's something I could be good at'," he said.
"Originally I thought I'd try to get enough marks to transfer into mechatronics but after the first year I liked how much I had learned.
"I got 75 per cent in one of the hardest assessments and thought 'It can only get better, I might as well continue."
"It's taught me how to approach things differently, not just in my career but in life."
Tim worked as a labourer in roofing, excavation and brick laying so he could experience the different roles.
"I can then advise them more effectively about how to approach things," he said.
The family - Michael and his wife Kate and their children Tim, Samantha and Greg - emigrated from Russia to Brisbane in 2010, before moving to the Central Coast in 2011.
"There were many reasons - political, the climate, the ocean, stability and greater prospects in the future for our children," Michael said.
He was "excited" about graduating, which he said was a "big relief" and the start of "new horizons".
But Tim said he was sad.
"It was so enjoyable. The first and second years were the hardest, then it started getting easier and easier. I wish I could go back and do it again."