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Girls & Women

Even Malala Was ‘Quite Nervous’ to Start College, New Interview Reveals

The world’s most famous youth education advocate is a little uneasy about going to school, it turns out.

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, told NBC today that she was “quite nervous” about starting college at Oxford University in England this fall.

“It's going to be a new place to live, first time without parents, so I'm going to be out of my home and living in the accommodation and meeting new people,” she said on “Today.”

Take Action: Call on World Leaders to Fund Another Year of Education Cannot Wait to Keep Girls in School

But true to form, Yousafzai also acknowledged that Oxford would be a “great opportunity.”

The 20-year-old college freshman has been a tireless advocate for education — especially for girls’ right to an education — since she was a young student growing up in Pakistan. Global Citizen campaigns for the right to education for all. You can take action here.

Yousafzai’s advocacy as a child made her a target of the Taliban, which staged an attack on a school bus she was riding on in October, 2012. A gunman boarded the bus and shot her in the head. Yousafzai survived the brutal attack and doubled down on her advocacy, leading Pakistan to pass a law guaranteeing education for girls.

Read More: Here's the First Look at Malala's New Book 'Malala's Magic Pencil'

“The Taliban wanted girls not to be independent, not to be themselves, not to achieve any jobs like become a doctor or engineer or teacher, and I just could not accept that,” she told NBC. “I just could not imagine a life limited to the four walls of my house and never be myself.”

Yousafzai and her family moved to England following the shooting. There, Yousafzai continued her advocacy, launching The Malala Fund, which fights for girls everywhere to get an education. She’s also writing a children’s book, visiting girls around the world, and Tweeting about her work.

Malala just doesn’t stop.

“It was time for me now to tell my story to younger children. And I think the best way to do that was to write a picture book,” she told NBC today.

"The magic is their voice, in their words, in their writing," she said. "They should dream beyond limits and believe that there is magic in them.”

Despite her nerves upon entering Oxford, it’s clear Yousafzai isn’t slowing down. We can’t wait to see where she ends up.