Wednesday, May 22, 2024

16-year-old Antonia Vazquez reflects on her past two years at the university

NewsCampus News16-year-old Antonia Vazquez reflects on her past two years at the university

RISHA INAGANTI
Managing News Editor





After getting accepted to the university at age 14, Antonia Vazquez has increased her love for education, learned new skills and grown her hobbies.

Vazquez, now 16, grew up in Mexico, where she was homeschooled for all of elementary, middle and high school.

“I sort of knew that I was going to go to college early,” Vazquez said. “I mean, I was prepared for it both mentally and educationally, so it just felt like the correct next step, even if I wasn’t that age yet.”

She noted that getting to learn at her own pace has allowed her to move at a quicker rate academically. For her, this meant staying in school over summer and winter and learning six days a week instead of the usual five.

Vazquez was primarily taught by her mom, who is currently a doctorate student at the university. 

“I’ve always been super close to [my mom],” Vazquez said. “Our bond has only gotten stronger since we go to college together now. We get to drive to campus together and stuff like that, which is unique to us and nice.”

Prior to applying to the university, Vazquez spent time taking online college-level classes. Through this, she has now racked up enough credits to be considered a junior, even though she is only in her second year. 

Despite that, she plans to graduate in the normal four years so that she has room for extra classes. 

“I came into college not really sure what I wanted to do,” Vazquez said. “I felt like I had so many interests but also not enough time to decide what’s best for me.”

Currently, Vazquez is a finance major with a minor in computer science, but her interests extend way beyond the world of business. Vazquez mentioned that she has a deep passion for learning languages. In addition to knowing English, she is fluent in Spanish, knows some Korean and has learned some Latin. 

While she noted that some parts of her college experience are limited due to the fact that she is a commuter student, she has not felt any variations due to her age.

“My experience hasn’t been super different from other student experiences,” Vazquez said. “I feel like no one can actually tell that I’m younger, so no one treats me differently.

“I tend to get some pretty shocked reactions when people find out my age. Sometimes it doesn’t come up in conversation for months, and so when it finally does their reaction is always pretty funny.”

In Vaquez’s eyes, the biggest adjustment to college for her has been dealing with deadlines, stating that was never something she worried about while homeschooled. However, she has not let deadlines get in the way of her grades. Throughout her time at the university, Vazquez has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.

As she learned the “strictness of deadlines,” she expressed that she wanted to prioritize finding a balance between her academics and her personal life.

While she deemed her biggest hobbies to be reading – specifically J.D. Sallinger – and drawing, she also considers learning to be a hobby as well. And this hobby is not one that she plans on stopping anytime soon.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Vazquez plans to go to graduate school, where she can further her interests. Long term, she wants to become a professor so that she can continue to learn and help others find their own passions as well. 

“I love learning,” Vazquez said. “And I want to continue to learn for as long as I can. I can’t see myself not learning.”

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