I don’t know about you, but when I was 13, most of my days were spent trying to learn algebra, watching Boy Meets World, and listening to Alanis Morissette on repeat. Dafne Almazán is putting the rest of us to shame; the 13-year-old became Mexico’s youngest licensed psychologist after graduating from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in August. Her degree is only the latest in the young prodigy’s string of impressive accomplishments: She finished middle school at the tender age of 7, and high school at 9. She knows Latin and is fluent in Spanish, English, and Mandarin, which — oh, yeah — she also teaches. You know, typical teenager stuff.
Almazán was named one of the 50 most powerful Mexican women by Forbes just this summer. In an interview with GlobalPost, she said of her growing fame,
I'm happy with the attention. This way I can show everyone that it's worth it doing your best. And I can do something about the prejudice that gifted children spend their time locked up in a library. We don't have to give up our youth just because we're gifted, you know.
Almazán aims to use her success to help other gifted children in Mexico. The teen comes from a family of prodigies — both her brother, Andrew, and her sister, Delanie, are gifted. When Dafne’s father realized that Andrew was having problems with bullying and boredom at school because of his high intellect, he developed the Centro de Atención al Talento (CEDAT) in Mexico City, a school for designed especially for the needs of gifted students. A 2013 study by CEDAT reports that resources and support for highly gifted students are sorely lacking in Mexico. The study found that only 4 percent of the estimated one million genius-level youths in Mexico are able reach their full potential in adulthood; many highly gifted children are incorrectly diagnosed with psychological and behavior disorders. CEDAT aims to provide educational support for its 250 gifted students. Dafne’s brother Andrew, now 20, has degrees and psychology and education and now leads CEDAT’s psychology department.
Dafne plans to put off treating patients for a while, and complete a master’s degree in education in the meantime. She told Univision that, when she’s not pursuing advanced degrees, she plays piano, paints, and practices tae kwon do. Though Dafne’s accomplishments may sound seriously impressive to most of us, she simply takes it all in stride, telling GlobalPost, “It's not actually that hard, to be honest. It's not like getting up really early every day and staying up really late. I just try to organize my time as best as I can so I can do all the things I like.” Yep, that sounds totally easy, right? (My 13-year-old self is crying into her mix tapes).