While most eighth-grade students are in the midst of developing their writing skills, gaining a solid understanding of algebraic principles, and spending their free time with their friends, David Fischer’s junior-high experience was quite the contrary.
Now a first-year computer science major at The University of Vermont, David’s UVM journey began in the eighth grade, where he supplemented the Common Core curriculum with college-level classes. A junior-high student learning on a college campus: impressive, right?
What is it really like taking college-level courses as a junior- high student?
While David’s academic journey is extraordinary, it wasn’t necessarily seamless. After all, being a high school student on a college campus poses obvious social challenges. And while David certainly had more academic opportunities available to him, his previous home-schooling environment added to the initial difficulty of forming friendships.
Luckily, David soon managed to meet a few welcoming college students who invited him to study, which created friendships that have lasted to this day. In addition to David’s new acquaintances, his most memorable moments of “high school” include a philosophy course, “On the Meaning of Life,” with Professor Richard Sugarman. This classroom experience resulted in David meeting his first serious girlfriend and led him to a new perspective. “Life isn’t perfect,” David admits. And what David states couldn’t ring more true; you will experience struggles throughout your academic career and your life, but it’s always important to do your personal best. At the same time, it’s important to find a sanctuary to keep you grounded. The cyber cafe became that place for David. There was just something about hearing the staff say, “Thank you. Have a nice day,” that made David feel at home.
Growing up too fast?
While people may think David missed out on a crucial part of his youth, he had a valuable opportunity to experience home schooling and challenge himself with college-level academics, all before starting his undergraduate studies at UVM. Experiences like these contribute to the unique nature of UVM’s culture.
Students often say that when they first came to Burlington, it was love at first sight. David is certainly enjoying the Queen City right now, but his adventure is just beginning. “I want to be in a city,” David says when asked where he sees himself after graduate school. But not before he wraps up his undergraduate degree and moves on to get his master’s from the University; at least that’s the plan.
Want to see more of David? Check out a performance by the UVM Symphony Orchestra or swing by the Church Street Marketplace, where you can find David playing the cello for tourists and locals alike.