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Student Spotlight

Graduating from college at 18 and preparing to grow up

Sara Neuman

Age 18 is when most young people enroll in college; Sara Neuman, however, is graduating at that age.

“What came easiest was being in the classroom. I really do enjoy being that student that meets my deadlines and always shows up on time,” Sara said.

Her accelerated academic career started with home schooling and public education in Lubbock and Seattle. Her father’s service in the Navy and subsequent career as a recruiter in the fields of information technology and oil and gas kept the family moving.

It was while they were in Seattle that Sara got her first exposure to higher education.

“She was able to graduate from high school and community college – three days a part; she was 16 years old,” said her mother Diane Neuman.

Within in weeks, the family had moved to Spring, near the Woodlands, and Sara had to decide what to do next with her associate of arts degree.

She chose to enroll in CLASS to earn an anthropology degree. She soon added a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

“Anthropology as a field is highly mutable and can be basically whatever I need it or want it to be,” she said.

That first semester Sara commuted to school from her suburban home, driving in with College of Pharmacy staffers living in the Champions area.

But then, she moved into the dorms to get the full college experience.

“Even though UH hasn't made an issue of my age like my old high schools did, I'm still holding myself back at least on the social front,” Sara said.

She joined the Anthropology Student Association and did some volunteer work with Planned Parenthood, but “I wish I had been more involved,” she said.

After the commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13, Sara plans to take it easy for a bit and enjoy being 18. Her future plans: “Grad school forever. Really!

“Part of me would like to stay on at U of H forever, but being 18, now I’m thinking it would be good for me to be a little further from family, where I can develop some different skill sets.”

She’s applying to graduate programs at several universities in Texas, but is not pressuring herself to “get through all the admissions gunk” any time soon. She’s going to use the summer to enjoy being 18.

“Now that I have my BA out of the way,” she said, “I can start trying to become an actual grown-up.”

-Shannon Buggs