PROFILE — Vivian is starting her final year at university and she’s only 15

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2020-09-01 07:00

Teen from P.E.I. shares advice on fitting in

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Vivian Xie


Charlottetown (P.E.I.)



Vivian Xie laughed when asked what her university friends say when they find out how young she is. ‘A lot of them don’t know,’ she said. (Image submitted by Vivian Xie)

Claim to fame

She isn’t old enough to drive a car, but Vivian is starting her last year of a four-year bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto this September.

How is that even possible?

Well, Vivian said she’s never taken an IQ test to see if she qualifies as a genius or anything, but she’s always been pretty good at school.

That meant that she skipped a few grades.

Vivian was only 12 years old when she started her first year at university.

On fitting in

Vivian said she feels at home in a class of 21-year-olds.

You know that “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme?

That about sums up how it feels to hang out with kids her own age, Vivian said with a laugh.

Old actor dressed as kid with slogan How do you do, fellow kids? along the bottom.


In fact, only a few close university friends know her actual age.

The last time one of them joked about it in a group chat, Vivian decided to respond with an emoji with a hint of mystery: the sunglasses smiley face.

Friend types: Vivian, you wouldn't happen to be a 15-year-old moonlighting as a college student, would you? Response is a sunglasses emoji.

(Graphic design by Allison Cake/CBC)

When it comes to figuring out where you fit in as a kid, she said, it pays to be patient.

“Don’t worry about it right now, because eventually everything will work out.”

“When you grow up, you meet a lot of different types of people and, eventually, you find the group that fits you perfectly. When you know, you know.” — Vivian Xie, 15-year-old university student

What’s next?

Vivian is hoping to finish a double major in biology and cell molecular biology this year.

Then she’s looking forward to grad school and a possible career researching cancer immunotherapy, which basically means she would be studying how the body fights cancer.

In the meantime, Vivian’s trying to write a novel, although she warns her writing style is “a little bit strange.”

It fits, in a way, because whether it’s science or writing, Vivian said she likes an excuse to get creative.

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Submitted by Vivian Xie

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