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19 year old college senior prepares to graduate

Nick Ienni attends an Isotopes baseball game with family and friends
Nick Ienni attends an Isotopes baseball game with family and friends
Nick Ienni

Many teenagers and adults often look back at their four years of high school and wish they could have just skipped the whole thing. Nick Ienni, currently a senior at the University of New Mexico, did just that.

At just 19 years old, Ienni will graduate from UNM in exactly one year with a degree in Economics and over a 4.0 GPA. He simply didn’t want to go to high school, he said.

Ienni claims he had an alternative education from early on. Ienni moved around a lot growing up, and never completed more than one year at the same school. From eighth grade until he enrolled at the Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) at 16 years old, Ienni was home-schooled.

“Homeschooling consisted mostly of me teaching myself stuff out of books,” Ienni said, “my parents helped me a lot more with writing.” Ienni chose to take the GED instead of going to high school because he simply didn’t feel like going.

After hearing unpleasant high school experiences from friends, Ienni decided it would be more productive to get started on college. His parents supported his decision as they found the high school options available to their finances inept, he said.

“I knew I didn’t want to go to public high school, and my parents couldn’t afford private high school. So, community college was the next best thing,” Ienni said.

Ienni found the GED to be an easy test and enrolled at CNM where he studied general requirements for all degrees at UNM, where he would eventually transfer.

Many of Ienni’s friends look to him as a role model. Adam Cordova, currently a junior at UNM, met Ienni in his sixth grade class and they have been friends since.

“Nick is definitely one of the most responsible and mature people that I know,” Cordova said, “I think it’s really cool for him to be a senior at 19.” While Ienni does not find himself to be impressive, Cordova said he is really impressed with him.

Ienni’s peers are usually two or three years older than he, which made it hard for him to socialize as a 17 year old sophomore at UNM.

“That made it harder for networking,” Ienni reflected. But, it wasn’t long before he found a social outlet in swing dancing, martial arts, and playing and recording music, he said.

Although he wasn’t prepared for the social aspects of college, Ienni has no regrets, “I am glad I got ahead with my life because I was able to catch up socially,” Ienni said.

While he does not know what the future will hold, Ienni said he is nervous and excited about graduating. “As I learn new things and have new experiences my options seem to expand and my future looks different than it did before.”


  • Claire 5 years ago

    He is a genius!! Wow skipping high school and graduating college in a year--that's amazing.

  • amy 5 years ago

    Nicole Raz does a great job telling us about the real news - how every day people are doing wonderful things. Nick is a great example of how there is more than one way to succeed.

  • Rhea 5 years ago

    This is such a good article encouraging teens to not stop at just doing the normal course, it really highlights how being different can put a person ahead in so many ways, even if it isn't always comfortable. Nick is such a great example of this! Good luck!

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    I know this guy!! and his little sister!!

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