Leah Remini is celebrating the end of a new chapter in her second act.
On Saturday, the actress and activist, 51, shared that she had just completed her first semester of final exams at NYU.
“Going to college for the first time at 51 after living most of my life in a cult and only having an 8th grade education hasn’t been easy,” Remini wrote on Twitter, alluding to the many years she spent as a member of the Church of Scientology.
“I took my first NYU final exams this week and I’m glad I decided to educate myself,” she added. “It’s never too late. It’s tough, but it’s worth it.”
Going to college for the first time at 51 after living most of my life in a cult and only having an 8th grade education hasn't been easy.
But I took my first NYU final exams this week and I'm glad I decided to educate myself.
It's never too late. It's tough, but it's worth it.
— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) May 7, 2022
Remini, who grew up a Scientologist, left the organization in 2013 and went on to create her Emmy-winning docuseries, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”, which investigated the controversial religion and shone a light on the experiences of those who also left the church.
Remini shared the news that she would be attending NYU last May, posting a photo of her acceptance letter on Instagram. “I am so excited, in tears and wanted to share this with you guys,” she captioned her post. “For someone like me, a person who desperately wanted a higher education and options in my life, coming from a cult and a family who didn’t value an education, this is a very big day for me. This didn’t come easy.”
She added, “This is one of the last chunks of my life that I am taking back for myself from Scientology. It took a lot for me to take this step, for fear that I was not smart enough, not worthy enough, not able to do the work that will be required, my age … I did it anyway with a lot of encouragement from a very special person in my life.”
Remini spoke with PEOPLE in February about how her back to school journey had been going, and, in particular, the challenges she has faced balancing school, work and being a parent, “It’s been difficult when I’m working because sometimes I’ll work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and then have to come home and read chapters and do a quiz when my brain is shutting down.”
“But I’m doing it,” she added, “and I am proud of myself. With my degree, I might eventually want to go into politics, but who knows? I would like to be of some kind of public service.”