By Sage Tippie
A girl sits cross legged, her long black hair falling over her shoulder as she glances up with deep brown eyes. Looking at her in class, you may never expect the funny, intelligent, and hardworking soul that sets apart Fatimah Diallo. She may seem like any other girl: her favorite movie is “Cheetah Girls 2,” she works at Zupas, and loves basketball, but she’s graduating early and heading off to NYU in the fall.
With a long record of AP and honors classes behind her, it’s no shock Diallo was admitted to a prestigious school like New York University in late March. What some may find surprising though, is the fact that she is graduating early. With only two classes left to take, the 17 year old believed the uncommon route of early graduation would be the “right step in kicking off her adult life.” Wanting to pursue a career in the medical field, a task that already may require four years of study minimum, Diallo knew it was the right choice.
Diallo’s love for biology was fostered throughout high school, beginning at the very start of her freshman year in Mrs. Merritt’s biology classroom. She continued to grow in knowledge and passion about the topic after taking Mrs. Young’s AP Biology this past year. Diallo also takes an interest in psychology and nueroscience stemming from her love for crime shows. She finds it, “interesting how murderers’ and psychopaths’ brains work.”
“It’s been a pleasure getting to know Fatimah in AP Biology this year,” Mrs. Young said. “She’s always engaged in the material, and she’s a really hard worker. I’m delighted that she is considering pursuing a career in biology, and I wish her the best of luck in the big city.”
Diallo hopes to major in one of these two interests during her time at NYU. New York has always been her most beloved city, and she “loves how NYU has so many options and how the campus is scattered throughout the city.” She is eager to begin college in her “favorite city ever” in the fall.
Diallo is not just defined by her academic future and past though, but by her personal memories and experiences throughout life. Growing up in France with her grandma and cousins, she formed a tight family bond and a value for “the importance of knowing my roots.” Family life has also played a role in her passion for education, as one of her father’s greatest hopes before he passed away was for Diallo and her brother to get the best education they could. Her mom also pushed her in school because, “education is a huge value.” She recalls some of her favorite childhood memories as “playing in the snow in Lille during the winters and having all my birthday parties in the McDonald’s playland.” Diallo grew up close with her sister who she describes as her “bestest friend ever” and travel partner.
Living in France allowed Diallo to boast the title of a trilingual individual, speaking English, French, and Spanish. Travel has always been one of her passions, her favorite place she has ever visited being Spain, which she compares to “a European version of Florida,” with “insane beaches and beautiful architecture.”
Currently though, the 17 year old spends most days hanging out with friends, babysitting, reading, watching movies, and “surviving up until now to graduate.” Her list of best friends includes juniors Jordyn Karns and Sydney Jung. She “spends every second” with Karns, and despite being complete opposites, Diallo states frankly, “We work.” Jung and Diallo’s friendship is defined by enjoying being young and “doing the dumbest things together” as their “energy just bounces off of eachother.” Eating, watching movies, driving, and listening to music are usually on the agenda for a hangout with Diallo and her friends. Friendship has shaped some of her favorite high school memories like “getting food after every semester exam and laughing over how we think we did, or spending time with them at the assemblies and football games.”
“Fatimah and I met freshman year and have been close ever since,” Karns said. “She’s one of the most loyal people I know, and she’s someone I can always mess around and have fun with. She is also easily one of the smartest people I know. I love her to death, and even though I’m going to miss her so much next year, I know she’s going to do amazing things at NYU.”
As a self defined procrastinator, finishing up school work was sometimes a challenge for Diallo, but she “works well under pressure,” waiting “last minute to do everything to produce the best result.” In contrast though, she is persistent and determined. When Diallo wants something, she does, “everything and anything to get it.” Despite her hardworking attitude though, she explains how she’s still fun. She’s “always down to do whatever and try new things.” These qualities have shaped her into the funny, driven, and strong person she is today.
Though Diallo has never been a huge fan of school, she encourages freshmen “not to be afraid of high school and stay true to themselves.” She says, “Stay true to yourself because sometimes everything else can be a mess, and it’s easy to just fall into the hype of things.”
Keep up with Diallo’s life through her instagram page @fatimah.diallo to see where she goes throughout her college experience. Being 17 and going to NYU, it’s no question she already has a headstart on a road paved with gold.