A 17-year-old just graduated from HPU, earning her third college degree

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tia Mansoor looked like any other college graduate as she walked across the stage to pick up her Bachelor's degree in political science at Hawaii Pacific University's graduation ceremony Thursday night.

But she's not like the rest of her collegiate classmates.

She's just 17 years old.

"It all began when I was living in Texas," Tia said. "I was 13 or 14 years old, and my mom was like, 'Hey, do you want to take some summer classes at the community college?' And I was like, sure, I'm not doing anything for the summer."

Tia soon began taking college courses during the regular school year as her military family moved from place to place.

Last June, she got her high school diploma from Stanford University's online high school, and that was after she got an associate degree in General Studies from Central Texas College, and an associate degree from HPU in mathematics.

"I remember when she was three, she saw her older siblings wanting to go to school, and she's like, 'when do I go to school mom? When do I go to school?" Tia's mom, Deanna Mansoor said.

Deanna then enrolled her daughter at Hanalani School, and eventually switched to homeschooling.

Tia said taking college courses at a young age did make for some awkward moments, especially when she actually went to classes.

"Obviously all of my classmates were way older," she said. "They'd be like, 'Oh, you wanna go clubbing Friday?' And I'm like, no, I'll pass. Little did they know I was 13, 14 years old."

Tia said getting to this point was not an easy feat.

"When I first started out, I worked myself way, way too hard. I was pretty much a hermit in my room, just doing school, day in and day out," she said. "Wake up early in the morning, go to my online classes, and then at the end of the day I would just do schoolwork all the way into the night, go to sleep. Repeat, repeat, repeat."

Now that Tia has completed studies at HPU, she says she's going to take some time to unwind and relax her mind.

"For like a whole year, we're going to do a road trip, and I'm just going to be spending time with my family. No school, none of that," Tia said.

But the road trip will have to wait until after she completes an unpaid internship with the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. in the coming months.

Even with three college degrees under her belt, Tia doesn't consider herself to be a brainiac.

"I don't think I'm intelligent or super smart, but I think it all came from hard work and you set yourself a goal and you don't allow yourself to stop pursuing that goal."

Tia eventually plans to work toward a master's degree and a doctorate in Criminal Justice.

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