We’ve found your new personal hero, and she’s probably younger than you.
At 13, Dafne Almazán just became Mexico’s youngest licensed psychologist when she graduated from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in August, after graduating from middle school when she was just 7 years old (!!!) and finished high school by age 9 (!!!!!).
As if that doesn’t already make you feel a little bad about whatever you’ve done with your life up to now, Dafne says that being a nationally famous child prodigy is kind of NBD.
“It’s not actually that hard, to be honest,” she said in an interview with GlobalPost. “It’s not like getting up really early every day and staying up really late. I just try to organize my time as best as I can so I can do all the things I like.”
Super easy, see?
Dafne, who learned how to read and write by age 3 and was fluent in both Spanish and English just three years later, told Univisión that she now wants to study bullying and try to find a way to help other gifted kids who are bullied or misunderstood. She said her inspiration came from her older brother, Andrew, also a prodigy, who was bullied by other students for correcting teachers in class.
When they realized how academically gifted their children were (Dafne and 20-year-old Andrew have another sister, Delanie, who is 17), the Almazán parents created the Talent Attention Center (known as CEDAT — Centro de Atención al Talento, in Spanish) in Mexico City, a school specifically for gifted students where they can learn at their own speed and thrive in an understanding and supportive community. Andrew, who finished college and has degrees in education and psychology, heads up CEDAT’s psychology program and is working on a new model for teaching gifted students.
Academically gifted children, like the 250 kids currently enrolled in CEDAT, often get lost in the Mexican education system. A recent CEDAT study estimated that there are around 1 million gifted students in Mexico, but less than 4 percent of them will reach their full potential as adults, often because they’re misdiagnosed with behavioral disorders and punished instead of encouraged to put their talents to use.
Fortunately for Dafne, she was one of the lucky ones, with parents who were determined to see her live up to her ridiculous potential. Even though she already has her psychology license, she told GlobalPost that she doesn’t plan to start practicing for a least a few more years. In the meantime, she needs to check a few more goals off the list, including getting a master’s degree in education and a Ph.D.
And she has to fill up all her free time somehow — currently, she says, her main activities include piano lessons, painting, tae kwon do and language classes (she already speaks Spanish, English and Mandarin, and knows Latin as well).
As further proof that Dafne is already well on the way to world domination, this past summer, Forbes named her one of the 50 most powerful women in Mexico, saying most of her “power” come from her ability to inspire others. She also just got back from Denmark, where she presented a project to the World Council for Talented and Gifted Children that simulated a space mission and the launch of an artificial data-collection satellite. And she’s not trying to hide from the spotlight, either.
“I’m happy with the attention,” she told GlobalPost. “This way I can show everyone that it’s worth it doing your best. And I can do something about the prejudice that gifted children spend their time locked up in a library. We don’t have to give up our youth just because we’re gifted, you know.”
Sure, the rest of us just decided to squander our youth eating Swedish Fish and watching superhero movies instead. Definitely not regretting those choices right about now, not at all.