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Justine Bateman, 47, goes back to school as freshman at UCLA

USMagazine, Friday, May 31, 2013, 6:45am (PDT)
  • Ever wonder what became of the "Family Ties" endearing airhead Mallory Keaton? Well, here's the answer: The girl who was a shopping savant is now a woman studying computer programming! Yes, Justine Bateman, 47, who played ditzy Mallory on the beloved '80s sitcom, is a college freshman at UCLA taking classes like engineering ethics and computer science.

    The actress even has a Tumblr blog, called "College Life," that details her experience as a middle-aged student. The posts range from random asides ("Pet Peeves: People talking in class. Dull pencils") to profiles of other late-in-life back-to-school women to detailed recaps of her schoolwork ("Did a 6-hour marathon coding session last night on campus. Finally called it at 1am and the project's still not done, but I had gotten to school that morning at 8am and was starting to not think straight," starts one lengthy entry).

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    Bateman, older sister to working actor Jason Bateman (of "Arrested Development"), told website L.A. Currents in March why she was motivated to get a degree. "I really, really love to work. I love tech, I was half in it. And when I did a search on Monster.com, no matter the keywords I put in, half the jobs were for computer programmers and developers and I thought, 'F--- it, I'll just go be a computer programmer,' " she explained.

    Other than guest roles on TV shows like "Modern Family" and "Desperate Housewives," Bateman has largely stayed out of the spotlight. "I can't audition anymore. I just completely ran out of gas," she told L.A. Currents.

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    While Bateman has received good grades so far (she posted about getting two A-pluses and one A-minus last quarter), academic life hasn't been a breeze. Her application to switch majors to computer science was recently rejected and the actress -- who has two kids (Duke, 10, and Olivia, 9) with her husband, Mark Fluent, opened up on her blog about how difficult it's been to juggle school and motherhood.

    "I was thinking the other day, in what had to have been a PMS-influenced moment, 'What am I doing? I could just pick the kids up from school every day and go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and get bath mats, etc for the house. What am I doing going to school and doing all this hard work and pursuing one of the most difficult degrees available?'" wrote Bateman. "Then I thought, 'Pull yourself together. You're not going to feel like this in about 48 hours. Your (sic) the one who would stick a fork in your eye if you weren't working. Get your s--- together.' "

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