1. Lilly King - Indiana University
King qualified for the Rio Olympics in the spring of her freshman year, and this summer has gone on to win a gold medal in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke and the women’s 4x100 medley relay. In addition to being a successful Olympian athlete, King has also been extremely successful as a college athlete – she broke NCAA, American and US Open records in the 100 meter breaststroke during her first NCAA appearance, and broke additional records in the 200 meter breaststroke at that same meet.
2. Mobolade Ajomale - Academy of Art University
Ajomale also qualified for the Olympics in the summer following his freshman year as part of the Canadian track and field team, for the 100 m dash. He also qualified for semifinals in the 100m and 200m dashes of the World University Games the summer before his freshman year, the second biggest worldwide games after the Olympics.
3. Sasha Alsberg - Emerson College
Alsberg wrote and published her first novel, Zenith, at the end of her freshman year of college. The book was co-written with author Lindsay Cummings and reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. Alsberg also announced that she’d be contributing to an anthology of short stories called Because You Love to Hate Me, written with several other authors and BookTubers. In addition to writing, Alsberg maintained a Youtube channel that reached over 300,000 subscribers this year.
4. Helen Oyeyemi - Cambridge University
Oyeyemi had two of her plays - Juniper’s Whitening and Victimese- performed for the first time while she was in her first year at Cambridge, and the two were published in an anthology later that year.
5. Charutha Bandara - Indiana University
Bandara founded the company Creston Solutions, a firm that provides marketing and technology consulting to small companies, the summer before he started college, and grew the corporation throughout his first year at Indiana U. Since then the company has grown to include additional employees, and Bandara now also serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the company Top Tier Learning.
6. Barney Packer - University of Lincoln
Packer released an album titled One that he wrote and recorded in his bedroom during his first year at the University of Lincoln, using only his cell phone. Since then Packer has released two additional singles - No Other Heart and Don’t Think I’m in Love.
7. Rajat Bhageria - University of Pennsylvania
Bhageria co-founded ThirdEye Technologies, a corporation that seeks to help the visually impaired by creating technology that can recognize objects- different types of medicine, money, etc. He also published a book the summer before he started college entitled What High School Didn't Teach Me: A Recent Graduate's Perspective on How High School is Killing Creativity, which provides a critique of the American public school system.
8. Bria Goeller - Emory University
Goeller created a short film series called Art Works, which tells the stories of Atlanta’s LGBT+ youth. The first installment was posted in April of 2016. In addition, she had her work published in the summer 2016 edition of Off the Coast Magazine, an art and literary magazine published quarterly. Her artwork was also showcased at Emory’s Top 16 Red Carpet Finale.
The next time you're searching for inspiration, keep these successful students in mind. Remember that they're human just like the rest of us are, and if they can succeed, then so can you!
Lead image credit: Unsplash.com