Zakara Blanding is only 15, but she's already well on her way toward her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon.
The Virginia teen earned her associate degree from Rappahannock Community College on Friday — before she even graduated from high school, local outlet WRIC reported on Wednesday.
Blanding was able to get a college degree while still in high school by double-enrolling, taking classes at her high school during the day and night classes at Rappahannock Community College.
Blanding's mother, Princess Blanding, told WRIC that her daughter originally just wanted to graduate from high school a year early. But when she realized getting an associate degree at the same time was an option, she decided to go for it.
"Once she looked at the plan, she said, 'Ma, I think I can do this in two years,'" Blanding said. As for the demanding workload, Blanding said her daughter "kept on pushing."
"So we are at that finishing point," she said. "She took her final exam for her last class for college on Monday so we are done and Friday is the big day."
So what's next for Blanding? Once she's got a college degree and a high school diploma under her belt, she'll head off to the University of Virginia in the fall to continue her education — she'll still need a lot more school before she accomplishes her dream.
"I'm just so excited to go to college now," she told WRIC. "I just can't wait to get closer to learning about medicine and working with patients and people."