A woman has completed a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and even become a homeowner by the time she was 20 – and now she is starting a PhD at the age of 21.
Pakeezah Zubairi, 21, from Florida, finished secondary school with 18 months worth of university credits.
She took after-hours classes and tests so by the time she started her bachelor’s degree in Psychology she could skip the first half of the course.
Completing her bachelor’s in record time, just before her 19th birthday, she then also completed her MBA in Human Resources Management and became the youngest student to get an MBA at Lynn University, a few days before turning 20.
Throughout her MBA, Pakeezah also worked full-time and saved enough money to buy a house.
The human resource specialist says it was her family life that motivated her to become more independent and fly the nest.
Pakeezah comes from a religious family who wanted a ‘good Muslim girl’ and stopped talking to her when she moved out.
‘I knew in high school I wanted to be as independent as soon as I could,’ Pakeezah said.
‘I wanted to get out of my parents as soon as I could so once I had my bachelor’s I moved out and lived in student accommodation while I completed my masters.
‘It was tough moving out, I come from a very religious background and they stopped talking to me when I left because they wanted me to be this good little Muslim girl and that just wasn’t for me.
‘I feel like all I did from high school until I got my house was work and study. I would write papers until five o’clock in the morning and then sleep two hours and get up for work.
‘I was saving money wherever I could, I never ate out, I didn’t go out drinking, nor did I spend a penny on designer clothes, gadgets or holidays.’
Pakeezah’s boyfriend Steven helped to save as the couple often bought cheap food to put away their earnings.
A friend also drove Pakeezah from work to school, allowing her to save on travel.
She added: ‘By the time I finished my master’s degree Steven and I were already saving for the house and we saved the $7,500 deposit needed to secure our mortgage within a year.
‘When I look back to the work we put in I’m just so happy with what I have achieved and what we have achieved as couple.
‘I’m the youngest student to ever graduate from an MBA business course at my university and that feels amazing.
‘I would advise anyone to try and get onto the property ladder as soon as they can, the two or three years it takes to save up sucks, but the payoff is incredible.’
Though Pakeezah is starting to enjoy the fruits of her labour, juggling everything was extremely tough.
While most college students take four classes a week, Pakeezah took seven, while working a full-time job.
‘I probably missed out on a lot of teenage stuff like going out, takeaway food and girls holidays but now I’m getting to do it all in my twenties.’
Her new goal is to start a PhD in Industrial Organisational Psychology, which she is currently working on getting accepted into now.
She added: ‘After the PhD, well, I’m planning on having a lie down.’