18-yr-old Nigerian, Daniel Abaji, becomes NYU Abu Dhabi’s youngest graduate ever

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18-year-old Nigerian, Daniel Obaji, a biology major emerges the youngest ever graduate of New York University Abu Dahbi.

Daniel will be starting his PhD in New York this September focusing on Computational Biology, which is a combination of Computer Studies and Biology.

The gifted biology student will be receiving his honours at a ceremony filled with students many years his senior on Monday.

Daniel moved to Adu Dhabi from Nigeria to pursue his studies when he was 15, being the youngest in the class is nothing new to this bright teenager as he is set to pack his bag again to begin the latest leg of his academic career at the New York University in the United States.

Daniel admits it took him time to get used to being the talk of the campus, but now he has experience that belies his youth.

“People having that image of me was difficult to deal with. It was hard to come across as being anything more than just the youngest person on campus,” said Daniel.

Daniel started school at the age of two in Edo, Southern part of Nigeria.

“I started schooling very early at the age of two because my mother was going to nursing school. At the same time, she admitted me in school”

“I was in kindergarten in the same class with my sister who was four years old” I skipped a few grades and soon became used to being the youngest person in my class. “I had a three to four-year head start on everyone else.”

In fourth grade, his school wanted him to skip a grade due to his academic progress but he did not have the height requirements.

“At the age of 11, I went to a paramilitary boarding school where everyone had to figure out how to survive and no one cared about how old you were”

Daniel encountered the same challenges every fresh man faces/

“When I reached NYU Abu Dhabi, I was worried about the same thing that everybody worries about – like saying goodbye to my friends, figuring out housing and classes.”

“As long as you put your mind in something and put in effort, you will get the result that you want.”

Daniels mother, who works as a community health worker in Edo, Nigeria, was full of joy when he was accepted at NYU Abu Dhabi. He faces so many challenges at such a young age with cutting through various red tape, including visa applications, posing a problem.

Daniels experiences will help him in the future as he looks forward to a new adventure in America.

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