By Maria-Jose Subiria
Hoping to get an early start toward medical school, Lovejoy High School's Mariesha Pugh jumped into the college world at the age of 15.
She said she is receiving high school and college credit, at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, through a dual-enrollment program.
"Mainly, I get to finish my last two years of high school in college," Pugh said.
Pugh, now 17, is Lovejoy High School's STAR Student for 2009-2010.
"I chose to go to college early," Pugh said. "I plan to go to medical school, and that is a lot of school."
Pugh said she plans to stay at the University of West Georgia as a pre-professional biology major, and then enter medical school. "I am working on my core requirements right now," she said.
She said she is currently enrolled in biology II, chemistry II, theater appreciation, British literature, cardio-kickboxing and statistics courses, and is a member of the American Medical Student Association at the university.
She said she rarely finds herself at Lovejoy High School these days, unless it is to speak to her counselor.
"It's been really tough this semester, as far as work load goes," Pugh said.
She said she has always been focused on her goals, and that entering medical school is her target right now. She said that after she graduates from Lovejoy High School, she'll be a junior at the university.
"If I do everything according to plan, I will be a doctor by 24," she said. "That is not common."
Pugh said she hasn't decided which medical field to specialize in, but she is researching a variety of areas.
"Being able to go into a room, and tell someone what's wrong with them ... the thought of helping people is amazing to me," she said.