She mostly hid her age at U of T. Now this 18-year-old has a master’s degree


When most women method their 18th birthdays, they could have an upcoming highschool commencement on their minds, however Isabel Jewell was anticipating a very completely different ceremony — her master’s convocation.

Jewell and her older sister Sophia each graduated this week with master’s levels in Slavic languages and literatures from the University of Toronto. It was the fruits of a journey that began with undergraduate levels at the University of Alberta after they have been simply 12 and 14 years previous.

The sisters hid their age from most classmates and professors, however spoke to CBC Toronto this week.

“In a means, it did not actually make a distinction to me as a result of I used to be simply doing it with my sister and we have been collectively the entire time,” stated Isabel Jewel, who simply turned 18.

“But once we would inform classmates, they discovered it actually, actually bizarre. They have been sort of shocked. So we stopped telling folks.”

Sophia Jewell started the journey for the pair. 

Sophia Jewell at 19 and Isabel Jewell at 16 at their commencement from the University of Alberta. (Submitted by: Mena Jewell)

“Initially, it was simply because of the languages. I actually wished to be taught languages, however our household does not communicate Polish, does not communicate Ukrainian, so I believed oh we may perhaps take them at college,” she stated.

Sophia, who had been home-schooled as much as that time, was in a position to register in a language course at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the place the household lived.

As quickly as she began, she liked it, bringing her enthusiasm house to her household, particularly Isabel.

“I used to be half means by means of my first course, after which one evening, we have been sitting up late speaking about what it was like and I stated, ‘Hey I’ve this insane thought,'” Sophia recalled.

‘”What if I educate you every little thing about my first course and you’ll be a part of me within the second half of the language course?'” she stated to her youthful sister.

It’s ‘astounding’ that sisters are so younger, professor says

Her mother, Mena Jewell, who home-schooled her women, says Sophia was getting high marks, “however the primary factor was she was actually completely satisfied.” 

And when Sophia got here up with the thought to carry Isabel to high school with her, Mena says she gave it her blessing.

Soon after, each women have been pursuing an undergraduate degree in trendy languages and cultural research. 

The Jewell household at the University of Toronto for convocation week celebrating Sophia and Isabel incomes master’s levels. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

The professor who taught their Russian Thinkers course at U of T, Allan Smith, says he thought they could have been a little bit youthful than the bulk of his college students. He was shocked when CBC Toronto instructed him how a lot youthful the sisters actually are.

“It is astounding, actually, that they have been nonetheless youngsters,” he stated, laughing. He notes that they each wrote fascinating papers and made significant contributions at school.

Both Isabel and Sophia say they’re taking their time to determine what they wish to pursue subsequent.

Isabel says folks generally assume she and her sisters should each be geniuses. But she does not essentially assume that is how they’ve achieved their success. 

“It’s not this thought of being a prodigy or one thing like that, however being prepared to do the onerous work, make investments your self in that and studying to work collectively,” she stated.

The college couldn’t verify if Isabel is its youngest ever master’s graduate.

But file or not, her success has supplied some inspiration.

Rosalina Jewell, 14, stated, “Yeah, most likely,” when CBC News requested her if she’ll comply with in her older sisters’ educational footsteps.


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