Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, pictured in front of a board with several math equations
Photo by Grace Cockrell

“College is like a mountain; you do not climb it by trying to race ahead on your own, or by competing with your comrades. You do it slowly and carefully through unselfish teamwork,” said Benjamin “Ben” Wilson, 19, a Mississippi State first-year student who, surprisingly, graduates this week with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

The Biloxi native said he didn’t intend to graduate college in only three semesters, but rather “it just happened.”

Wilson took his first classes on MSU’s campus last summer shortly after his May 2022 high school graduation. He begins graduate school at MSU this fall—just a little more than one year after finishing high school.

“I graduated from high school at the fairly normal age of 18,” said Wilson, who began taking dual credit and Advanced placement or AP courses during his junior year. “I might’ve been able to graduate high school early with as many college credits as I had, but I really wanted to stay all four years for the sake of family, friends and academics.”

Wilson had 98 college credit hours when he came to MSU in fall 2022. He has earned 53 credit hours at MSU since last summer.

Wilson said he has always found math “to have a lot of intrinsic beauty,” and would like to pursue a career in academia or a heavily math-involved industry like computer or data science.

“I really just want to follow my passions and find a career where they lead me,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what major I wanted to pick for the longest time, so the ability to easily switch between majors without having to worry about financial consequences was very important to me when deciding between colleges.”

“People choose to go to college for many reasons, but one of the commonalities is that it is almost always beneficial to the individual. This benefit could come socially, mentally, financially, or through other means, but doing well in college increases the effect in every case.”

Though his undergraduate time is quickly drawing to a close, Wilson has enjoyed being a member of the Philosophy Club, Math Club, and Trail and River Outdoor Club. He still has a few semesters left on campus as he begins his graduate studies in mathematics this fall.

“I really enjoy the campus in a physical and atmospheric sense—all the pristine lawns, clean sidewalks and genuinely nice people make it such a nice place to be. More broadly, I really enjoy being able to attend classes that I genuinely enjoy in a subject that I love. Equally important as your education are the friends and colleagues that you make along the way. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be than MSU!”