Jennifer Meyer already has her career planned out.
At 17, Whiteland Community High School’s valedictorian has a college plan that already includes taking the MCAT and a possible field of study for medical school: neurology.
Meyer long has been ahead of the game, skipping a grade in elementary school. But her drive also has come with a lot of hard work along the way.
“I’m a perfectionist,” she said.
She still rues that A- she got in one year of high school English class — by that point, she’d already had her eye on the ultimate prize.
In eighth grade, the National Junior Honor Society group she was in ranked classmates in anticipation of who they thought might be the valedictorian and salutatorian.
She was excited in ninth grade when the class rankings came out and she was at the top of the list.
“I was first. I thought this is something that could actually happen,” she said.
Meyer pushes herself to do her best and doesn’t stop working until she’s confident she’s mastered the class material.
“I always want to do the best I can. I won’t give up until I’ve done the best I can,” she said.
“I think it generally comes easily. I work hard but I don’t know how hard I’m working.”
She loves math and science classes the best. In those classes, there’s a solid, definite answer to problems you try to solve, she said.
She also was on her school’s math and science academic team.
English, class on the other hand, is harder for her because writing — and getting graded for it — is much more subjective.
“I always have my mom and sister look over what I write,” she said. “I don’t always feel confident.”
By taking dual-credit classes, she’s earned at least a year’s worth of credits at Indiana University, where she’s got full-ride scholarship.
She plans to major in chemistry, but said she might switch because she has an interest in neurology, which may be her chosen field for medical school.
The field has fascinated her since she watched her younger sister deal with some neurological issues. Studying the brain, “the control system” of the whole body, is endlessly fascinating, she said.
Then again, she also is interested in studying dermatology, she said.
In addition to her studies, Meyer dances about five hours a night and specializes in several kinds — tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and acro. She teaches dance on Thursdays at the The Dance Refinery, on the southside, was on the In10sity dance team and helped plan and coordinate her school’s Riley Dance Marathon.
To future Whiteland Warriors who want to be at the top of their class, Meyer advises starting in their freshman year.
“A lot of students in their freshman year get Bs, Cs or Ds, and that can be really hard to rebound from,” she said.
“Take freshman year just as seriously as AP classes. Make sure you’re wise in the classes you choose, and don’t do slack-off classes.”
Name: Jennifer Meyer
Parents: Kristin and Stuart Meyer
College plans: attending Indiana University, studying chemistry
Career goals: attending medical school, interested in neurology