Jeremy Goh could very well be Chilliwack’s version of Doogie Howser.
He hasn’t finished high school yet, but has already finished a semester of university.
This summer, Goh was enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn taking first-year university courses.
Carnegie Mellon offers a pre-college program for high school students over 16 during the summer semester. Through the program, secondary school students take first-year, transferable, credit courses with university students.
For six weeks, Goh lived in a “cockroach-infested” dorm room; crammed for exams; studied until three or four in the morning; sat through long lectures; participated in labs; completed research reports; and for a little extra cash, partook in university research studies.
“I got the full college experience,” said Goh, a Grade 12 Sardis secondary student.
Goh has wanted to become a pediatric neurosurgeon ever since reading Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson when he was seven years old. Dr. Carson attended John Hopkins University, which is famed for its medicine program. Goh wants to follow in the doctor’s footsteps.
He plans on attending a post-secondary institution in the United States next year, preferably the University of Pennsylvania, where he wants to complete a double major in business and biology, and then go into medicine at John Hopkins University.
Carnegie Mellon was a way for him to get a leg up on other prospective students.
“It’s so competitive in the States; you have to do everything you can to set yourself apart from other students and to show that you’re interested in expanding your education,” he said.
At Carnegie Mellon, Goh took modern biology, modern biology lab, and science and science fiction.
He worked with proteins in cells, learned how to cut DNA, and how to insert it with plasma.
“This is stuff you see on TV,” he said. “I was, like, am I actually doing this?
This wasn’t Goh’s first university experience, though. Last year he was enrolled in two classes at the University of the Fraser Valley through the concurrent studies program, which is a partnership between UFV and secondary schools in the Fraser Valley that allow top academic students to take university courses while still attending high school.
He is currently enrolled in his third class at UFV.
It’s all part of preparing himself for full-time university, he said.
Some may think him crazy for cramming even more into his Grade 12 year with the UFV courses, and for giving up the dog days of summer for more school at Carnegie Mellon, but higher learning does sometimes have perks beyond further education.
And sometimes those perks include the Batmobile.
Halfway through his courses at Carnegie Mellon, Goh learned that Batman was filming on campus. The Mellon Institute, where the biology lab is located, was being used as the jail for Gotham City.
“I saw Christian Bale and the Batmobile!” exclaimed Goh, who was given a special access lanyard to get to his classes. “It was really interesting to finish a lab and walk out and see actor hobos and Gotham police hanging around.”
Goh admits the experience was hard work, but said it was also invaluable.
“I had two finals in one day, a test every week, months of work that had to be done in only six weeks, I was staying up until three or four in the morning, studying like crazy,” he said. “But as hard as it was, it was still a great experience.
“I got a really good experience in what college is going to be like.”