Like many students, Jacob Bradd says it took some time to adjust to university life.
The key difference is the mathematics whiz kid was barely into his teens when he began studying at the University of Wollongong.
“At the start it was pretty hard… But I always kept my age like a secret for the first couple of years,” he said.
“Then I started meeting some people I was really comfortable with, and then I would say it.
“You’re young, and you’re sort of embarrassed about not being able to drink and all that. (When they asked me), I’d say, ‘oh, no, I’m fine, I don’t drink’.”
Mount Kembla resident Mr Bradd, who has completed a Bachelor of Advanced Mathematics (Honours), graduated on Wednesday, just weeks after he turned 19.
He attended the Illawarra Christian School, and at age 13 was one of the youngest students to sit the NSW Higher School Certificate exams in maths extension 1 and 2.
Mr Bradd became UOW’s youngest ever full-time undergraduate student.
He started studying part-time at UOW at the age of 13 (full-time at 14), and is now bound for Pennsylvania State University in the US, where he will begin his PhD.
Undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and the Faculty of Business are being honoured this week as part of UOW’s winter graduation ceremonies.
“It’s been a long journey, so I’m very happy about it,” Mr Bradd said of graduating.
“My goal is to get my PhD, and see what happens, whether I go into academia or go somewhere else.”
Meanwhile, Professor Nicholas Standish, 86, an internationally renowned metallurgist, was honoured with an Emeritus Professorship on Wednesday.
Born in the former Yugoslavia in 1932, Prof Standish has been associated with UOW for more than 50 years, since its formative days.
In addition to establishing offshore study and work-based learning programs, he spearheaded the development of materials research in the early 1990s.
The Dubbo resident has written a memoir about his experiences as a child soldier in World War II.
“I don’t know how I survived,” he said.
“The book is called Survival and Success. It’s easy to work out that I survived, but the success, the final success came this morning when I was honoured by becoming Emeritus Professor.”