The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU senior to graduate at 18 years old

SMU senior to graduate at 18 years old
Courtesy of Sawyer Stone

(Courtesy of Sawyer Stone)

When most people learn the age of senior Sawyer David Stone, they are shocked and confused.

At 15 years old, most kids are learning how to drive a car, keep up with their first year of high school work, and get up the nerve to ask their crush to a school dance. However, this was not the case for Stone.

Graduating high school three years early, Stone walked onto the SMU campus as a freshman. Although much younger than the rest of his peers and lacking in life experience, Stone did not allow that to hold him back from experiencing everything college had to offer.

Born and raised in Hot Springs, Ark., Stone was 11 years old when he entered his freshman year of high school. Having spent his entire academic career attending small private schools, Stone stood out at a young age. Two weeks into kindergarten “teachers noticed I was really bored and it was causing me to do terrible in school,” said Stone. Leading faculty, teachers and his parents to make the decision to allow Stone finish out the year in the first grade. Stone placed out of his second and fourth grade years as well.

It wasn’t until fifth grade that Sawyer stayed with the same class of students until graduating high school. Stone said his 4-year age difference didn’t affect social situations too much, “Seventh grade was really the only time I ever felt awkward. But I think that’s just an awkward and uncomfortable time for everyone, it wasn’t because of my age though.”

Stone’s parents knew their decision would not hinder Stone, who had grown up being around older people, from a normal social life. When Stone was 15 and about to graduate high school, the decision on where to go to college was an easy one. At first he discussed taking a year off before attending SMU, not sure how colleges would react to his age. However, he was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback and acceptance he received from SMU, TCU and Hendricks College.

The transition from high school to college can be difficult. Whether it’s the first time being away from home or being forced to make an entire new group of friends, most college freshman find the first couple weeks of school to be overwhelming and intimidating. This was no different for Stone, “I graduated high school in a class of 25 people and suddenly I’m in a huge school.”

But he says age had nothing to do with his freshman jitters, it was merely “typical adjustment stuff.” In fact, his first year roommate wasn’t aware of his age difference until three months into the school year.

Now 18 years old, Stone finds himself just months away from graduating with a double major in mechanical engineering and premed/biomedical engineering specialization.

Professor Lage, associate chair of the mechanical engineering department, was also unaware of Stone’s age difference and has had Stone in two of his classes. Stone is “very smart, learns quickly, and is able to reason beyond what he learns,” Lage said. Furthermore, Lage depicts Stone as quiet, friendly and always willing to answer questions when called upon.

Although having a rigorous academic schedule, Stone didn’t pass up the chance in participating in SMU’s Greek Life and is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

It comes to no shock that Stone is spoken highly of amongst his friends and peers, “You would never know that Sawyer was as smart as he is. He’s humble and it would be quite a challenge for someone to come up with something bad to say about him,” fraternity brother and pledge class president, Luke Johnson, said.

Besides being a member of Pike, Stone participates in clubs such as One 28, a campus ministry, and the Ambassadors to Prospective Engineering Students.

Stone’s attitude toward his age in consideration to graduating is a positive one, “It’s nice that I am so a head of the game, and have more time to explore all my options. It really hasn’t hindered me in anyway. The only real problem about my age is when I am trying to get into bars.”

However, entering the “real world” will be put on hold as Stone has decided to return to SMU next year to receive his masters degrees in mechanical engineering.

Stone is excited to continue his studies and have more time to decide what it is he wants to do. For many, being 18 and having to decide what you want to do with your life might seem impossible, but to that Stone responds, ” I have never known anything else, for me this is normal.”

 

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