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Aug 20 2016
by Nancy Canevari

8 People Who Accomplished Big Things Their Freshmen Year of College

By Nancy Canevari - Aug 20 2016
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Between classes, homework, extracurriculurs and social lives, college can get pretty overwhelming, and at times it can seem impossible to accomplish anything beyond what's expected. The following students prove that that's far from the case – in addition to juggling academic responsibilities, they have published books, qualified for the Olympics and even founded corporations, among other impressive feats. These are definitely students to keep an eye out for, as we can only imagine where their talents will take them in the future.

1. Lilly King - Indiana University

image credit: Instagram

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.

Instagram//Twitter

2. Mobolade Ajomale - Academy of Art University

image credit: Instagram

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.

Instagram//Twitter

3. Sasha Alsberg - Emerson College

image credit: Instagram

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.

Instagram//Twitter//Youtube//Goodreads

4. Helen Oyeyemi - Cambridge University

image credit: Goodreads

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.

Website//Goodreads

5. Charutha Bandara - Indiana University

image credit: Twitter

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.

Twitter//Creston Solutions//Top Tier Learning

6. Barney Packer - University of Lincoln

image credit: Instagram

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.

Twitter//Instagram//SoundCloud

7. Rajat Bhageria - University of Pennsylvania

image credit: TedX

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.

Third Eye Technologies//Book//Twitter

8. Bria Goeller - Emory University

Image credit: Instagram

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. 

Instagram//Website//Youtube

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

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Nancy Canevari - Smith College

Nancy is a junior editor for Fresh U. She is a sophomore at Smith College and plans on double majoring in secondary education and English, with a concentration in creative writing. She's originally from New Jersey, a place she views with one part love and one part exasperated disgust. She loves dogs and young adult high fantasy novels a bit too much and spends most of her time drinking tea and yelling about politics. Follow her on Instagram @fearlesslynancelot for some solidly mediocre content.

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