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Kamloops teen taking on engineering at TRU

Jacob Lawrence, 16, is halfway through his first semester at Thompson Rivers University.
October 24, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Most 16-year-olds are worrying about passing their driver’s licence test, keeping up with homework, and preparing for the end of their time in high school – but not Jacob Lawrence.

The Kamloops teen is instead worrying about balancing seven courses during his first semester of engineering at Thompson Rivers University.

“Well the high school system was just boring actually, I wanted a challenge,” Lawrence says.

Lawrence says he received his high school diploma from South Kamloops Secondary at 15 years old, and decided engineering could be the challenge he was looking for. He applied for Thompson Rivers University, and even got a $4,000 entrance scholarship after he was accepted.

“My family was really supportive so that was great,” he says. “I graduated on the Principal’s List with distinction which was nice.”

In order to get the leadership scholarship, a student has to demonstrate leadership and community service, while maintaining a strong academic performance, according to an article posted by the university.

For someone so young, Lawrence wears several hats, including ski instructor, certified lifeguard, the starter of a student city council, and violinist in the Kamloops Orchestra. Now he can add engineering student to the list.

“I really do enjoy, for one thing, teaching kids,” he says. “I’ll probably be doing that next year with sports in Sun Peaks… I just enjoy giving back, it feels good.”

An average school week for Lawrence includes 40 hours of structured class time, along with 30 hours of studying. He says he wakes up around 5 a.m. each day, does about one hour and a half of school work, plays the violin for a little while, and heads to school from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After that, it’s either studying, going to the gym, or playing music.

“That’s the stuff that I enjoy,” Lawrence says. “That’s what I’m going to continue doing, it’s just as important as academic, if not more.”

He says it’s all about keeping things in balance. Music and physical activity are outlets for Lawrence, and he says it’s really important for him to continue doing those things while he adjusts to university life.

Even though he had an accelerated course load in high school, Lawrence says it was a major transition into the self-paced environment of university. Some of the best education he’s gotten in his life, Lawrence says, comes from traveling the world with his family, including places like Tanzania, Kenya and all over Europe.

“One trip is honestly more relevant than a year in school, more valuable,” he says.

As for long term goals, Lawrence hopes to work with an engineering firm for a few years after he graduates, before delving into the world of finance. It’s something he considered going into before engineering.

Lawrence has relied on his supportive family during his fast-tracked journey from high school to university, and says he couldn’t have gotten where he is without them.

“Without them I couldn’t have done it,” Lawrence says. “Driving, waking me up in the morning sometimes, opening my eyes up to the rest of the world with travelling… They definitely (supported me).”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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