While most 14-year-olds are enjoying the last few weeks of summer before heading off to high school, Thessalonika Arzu-Embry is wrapping up her undergraduate studies. The Great Lakes, Illinois resident is just a month away from completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chicago State University.
Although most would call her story extraordinary, Arzu-Embry said her college experience has been quite normal.
“My college experience is a traditional college experience for me — it is just that I have completed it faster,” she explained to the Daily Herald. “I am very excited about joining others in having the opportunity to contribute to society in a significant way.”
The impressive teen carries a 3.9 GPA, is a member of the school’s Honor College, and serves as a student senator. Thessalonika credits her mom, who homeschooled her, for inspiring her to pursue education.
“My mother is a strong inspiration to my success. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, and when she finished her tour, she home-schooled my brother and I,” she said.
After she earned the equivalent of a high school diploma through homeschooling, Thessalonika passed the entrance exam for the College of Lake County and began studying psychology. She was 11.
These days, Thessalonika and her mother rise early, pray, work out, then spend their hour-long commute discussing theory and going over their homework assignments. It’s a routine that has helped the teen get through college and set her on a path to even greater academic achievements.
Education is a family affair for Embrys. One of Thessalonika’s advisors told the Daily Herald that whenever he met with her to discuss her progress, her mother, brother, and father would all show up.
After graduation, Thessalonika plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago or Stanford University.
We wish her continued success!