The 16-year-old Vivian Xie has a lot to be proud of.
She skipped several grades, completed the 10th grade in one summer, and is now the youngest graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences in at least 40 years.
But she said it was no big deal.
“The past four years have been normal. If you really don’t know my age, you may not be able to tell,” she said.
She started her higher education at the University of Prince Edward Island when she was 12 years old and then transferred to the University of Toronto. She is now completing a double degree in biology, cell and molecular biology. She will pursue a master’s degree in applied immunology at the University of Toronto School of Medicine in the fall.
After that, her goal is to pursue a PhD degree, which means she will graduate around 22 or 23 years old, when most people have completed an undergraduate degree.
Xie said that her grandmother was an important part of her success and love of learning.
“She is a teacher… She started teaching me because I was playing in the park or playing with friends,” Xie said.
“She typed a little bit of unobtrusive information into my child’s brain. I wouldn’t notice at all. I would think she was playing a very interesting game with me… This is what I will It’s fun to learn how to connect with a lot,” she added.
“My grandmother finally gave me a lot of good philosophy of life. You know, every little thing about Asian parents is a lesson in life.”
Xie said that she has never been pressured to achieve excellent grades in school. She said she has been learning at her own pace, including admitting that when her studies did not challenge her, she must challenge herself.
“You have to really give yourself time and space to do things at your own pace. It’s not like a game,” she explained.
She said that although she is an excellent student, she likes other activities such as creative writing and food.
“People say,’Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades, start specializing.’ But for me, I think this is a bad advice,” she said.
“When you only know how to use a hammer, you will find that everything else is a nail… I think this is a terrible way to treat life.”
She said that all-round development would help her. In addition to academic success, she is also convinced of one thing-her desire for life drives her.
“All these incredible coincidences allow us to exist now. Then you throw it away, it’s like a waste. Have fun, really, really enjoy your time on earth,” she said.
The principal says age cannot define you
Charlie Keil, president of Innis College at the University of Toronto, said Xie may be very young, but she will not let anything prevent her from achieving her goals.
“She had graduated from college before most students considered going to college,” he said.
“Her unusual environment has never hindered her lifestyle. She doesn’t think obstacles are things that prevent her from achieving what she wants. She just sees them as issues that she negotiates and strives to solve, which is very positive. Attitude.”
Kyle said that when he first met Xie at the principal’s meeting, he was surprised at her ability to stick to her own.
“we [got] Participated in this incredibly intense and intellectually rigorous debate,” he recalled.
Kyle says this just shows that people don’t have to let age define them, adding that while some people may think college students find it frustrating to be with people who are much younger, the truth is often the opposite.
“It’s like,’Well, if she can do it and she is thriving, then I can do it because I have spent several years with her,'” he said.
Look forward to not worry
Xie said that her college experience is very typical, because no one really doubts how young she is unless they know her age.
But there are some things she can’t participate in.
“I don’t think I can drink,” she said. “So I don’t have much nightlife, but I think it’s often exaggerated, like college or an important part of college life.”
She said she was looking forward to the next step and enjoying a summer full of fun.
“Wandering around in Shanghai, eating good food, having fun, just…not [worrying] About anything. “