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Girls & Women

Yes, Malala Yousafzai Was Nervous at Her College Interview, Too

When it comes to college applications, having a Nobel Peace Prize to throw on your resume might not help quell the nerves all that much.  

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel winner who survived a getting shot in the head by terrorists  and has gone on to become a global spokeswoman for girls’ rights, is apparently pretty flustered when it comes to thinking about her future.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Yousafzai talks about how hard it is to fit into high school when you are giving speeches to the United Nations and how she still gets nervous thinking back to to an interview at her top-choice university. Here’s what we learned about our favorite young feminist.

Read More: Malala Wants to Be Prime Minister of Pakistan Because of Course

“The hardest interview of my life. I just get scared when I think of the interview.”

Yousafzai interviewed at Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall in December for a position in next year’s incoming class, where she hopes to study philosophy, politics, and economics. The 19-year-old said she can barely stand to think back to the interview, it made her so nervous.

The school is renowned for being the first Oxford college to educate women, but just in case she doesn’t get into her first choice, Yousafzai also applied to the London School of Economics and Durham and Warwick universities, and visited Stanford University in California with her dad. While there, Mr. Yousafzai asked if there was a place on campus where he could live while his daughter was enrolled there. The answer? Nope. Yousafzai will have to head off to freshman year on her own.

Read More: The 10 Times Malala’s Words of Wisdom Have Left Us Speechless

“I try not to be too serious with my friends. You want to be normal.”

She’s the bestselling author of a renowned memoir and is working on a children’s book about changing the world, but around her friends, Yousafzai tries to fit in as a “normal” teenage girl. She told Newsweek it took her months at her new school before she was able to make friends because she is shy and many of her peers were intimidated by her global renown. Now that she has friends, they go out shopping and hang out like any group of 19-year-olds, and Yousafzai says it can be a bit awkward when people stop her for pictures.

“Sometimes you don’t want to remind yourself of fame and everything else outside,” she said.

She Runs a Billion Dollar Charity Fund

The Malala Fund has already given away $8.4 million in grants since it was founded in 2013, including to help girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to open a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and to create educational programs in Jordan’s refugee camps. The fun is overseen by a board of directors who plan to give out $10 million a year for the next 10 years. While Yousafzai doesn’t manage the day-to-day operations so that she can focus on school, she can opt to run the fund when she graduates if she’d like.

Read More: Malala Calls Out Donald Trump for His Anti-Muslim Ideology

“Once I wanted to become a lawyer, a doctor, a mechanic fixing cars, an artist.”

Like just about every other college freshman, Yousafzai hasn’t always been sure of what she wants to do when she graduates. She’s frequently mentioned her aspiration to become the prime minister of Pakistan, though she told Newsweek she only “sometimes” wants to be a politician and run for Pakistan’s highest office. And like most freshman entering university who aren’t quite sure, Yousafzai’s got time to figure it out.

She Misses Being a Kid

Yousafzai became a global leader as a teen. On her 16th birthday, she spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. It’s a tall order for a young woman, and she told Newsweek that sometimes she wonders where her childhood went.

“Now, when I am 19 years old, I look back and I wonder, like, Where was my youth, where was my childhood?” she says. “At [my age], many children would not have seen their schools being banned, many children would not have seen terrorists in their life, many children would not have experienced campaigning for serious issues and meeting world leaders.”

She’s Still a Feminist Icon

Whatever Yousafzai ends up after her graduation — and wherever she ends up studying —  one fact seems certain: she will stand up for the rights of girls and women.

“There was a time when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights,” she told the U.N. General Assembly on Malala Day. “But this time, we will do it by ourselves.”