CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A 17-year-old from Mechanicsburg made history last year, becoming the youngest person to graduate from Central Penn College in the school’s history. Michelle Donaghy graduated in December, just a few months after her 17th birthday.

“I was very motivated as a child. I always needed something to do, and I was always bored,” she said.

It took Donaghy just 16 months to graduate with her bachelor’s degree.

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“Because I was taking dual enrollment classes in high school, I came in with 32 credits which is considered a sophomore at Central Penn,” she said.

Over those 16 months, Donaghy juggled a full-course load every term with her involvement in several clubs, including serving as president of the Student Government Association. She also worked part-time at Highmark. Donaghy said she balanced everything by getting assignments done early and giving herself a schedule.

“I’ve always been the planner type, so when we went on family vacation, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to leave at this time, we’re going to do this,'” Donaghy said.

College is just the latest in a series of accomplishments Donaghy has finished early. Her mom Ana said even as a baby, she did everything fast.

“She’s supposed to [be] born [in] nine months, she[‘s] born [in] eight months,” Ana said.

Donaghy was a curious kid. She wanted to know how everything worked, and she did the research herself.

“I used to dig up worms…look at insects and do research on that,” Donaghy said.

Ana realized early that Donaghy was not being challenged in public school, so she put Michelle in online school at Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA).

“My daughter was in the right place. It’s not like you’re isolated, you are with people,” Ana said.

Donaghy skipped two grades at CCA and graduated high school at just 15. She said going to college so young did not make her nervous, and at first, classes were familiar as well. When she started at Central Penn in 2020, classes were still held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some students were struggling. I was like, ‘No, I can help you guys with Zoom. This isn’t new territory for me, I’ve been doing this for a while,'” Donaghy said.

However, when classes started to return to in-person learning, Donaghy was anxious about being in a classroom for nearly the first time in her life.

“I was so nervous, I was like, ‘Nope don’t call on me, please don’t call on me. I know I have the answer but I just do not want to speak,'” she said.

Joining clubs on campus gave her more confidence to speak up, and 16 months later, she got her degree in Business Administration. Donaghy now works full-time as an analyst for Highmark and holds a second job as a barista.

“I like the numbers, okay? The data just intrigues me,” she said.

Donaghy’s accomplishments are a source of pride for her family.

“It’s just amazing, I’m very proud,” Ana said.

As for Donaghy herself, she said it is nothing special.

“For me, it’s not that big of a deal, but for the rest of the world, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is such an incredible thing,'” Donaghy said.

Donaghy eventually wants to go back to school and get her Master’s, but she is giving herself a break from classes and focusing on work. She has several plans for the rest of 2022: high on that list is getting her driver’s license. She is also planning a trip to Iceland in the fall.