Success, something strived for by many, but reached by few. Something dreamed about by the masses but only truly grasped by the select. It is for this reason that many find success later in life.  However, then one brings to light the Director of Business Development at Hughes Marino, the largest commercial real estate company in San Diego, California. A position with this much prestige and significance is held by a graduate of the University of San Diego. Earning a BA and thereafter an MBA, she understands what it takes to set a goal and reach it. However, would you be surprised to find out that the person I am talking about is only 21?

Star Hughes’ path to success is a road less traveled by the average college student. In an article published on Forbes.com, writer Jenna Goudreau summarizes the course Hughes took in order to accomplish her dreams. “I’ve always prided myself on being different, whether it was dropping out of preschool, refusing to wear make-up until my junior year of high school or never having a sip of alcohol. I graduated high school at age 18, but what made me different was how I chose to build on it.” This determination is what has set Star apart from the rest of her peers.

Upon entering college, Hughes decided that graduating in the norm of four years wasn’t what she envisioned. A month into college, she decided to pursue a master’s degree and she wished to acquire it as soon as possible. Therefore, over the next year and a half, Hughes earned her bachelor’s degree and a perfect 4.0 GPA, top in her class. One of the humorous aspects of graduating this early, Star says, “I was the only graduate too young to attend the graduation parties,” something she wasn’t too worried about. Soon thereafter, she started her MBA degree and in Star Hughes fashion, completed the two year MBA degree program in only one, three weeks after turning 21.

In being asked about her early success, Hughes had three tips for those wanting to follow in her footsteps.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask. “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. You have to ask for things to be successful—a lesson that women in my generation could hear a few more times throughout their careers. Ask for opportunities. Ask for a raise. Ask for a job.”
  2. Expect The Unexpected. For Star, her life has been planned from the moment she was born. In a position where many feel a pressure to distance themselves from their parent success, Star embraced it and is working for her parents’ company. Hughes’ describes this as “a world of opportunity, and I am working for the people that truly have my best interests at heart.”
  3. Success Is Uncommon. Goudreau quotes Hughes as saying, “A quote that has stuck with me through the years is, interestingly enough, from sports coach Cal Stoll: ‘Success is uncommon, therefore, not to be enjoyed by the common man.’”

Finally, Star Hughes captures her passion for success by stating, “If I strived to be normal, how could I ever be different? If I was never different from my peers, how could I achieve greater success than the rest of the pack? So the next time someone says you’re unusual, take pride in it. That’s what will set you apart–and set you up for success.”