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Life is filled with contrasts for Cavalin, a 17-year-old from San Gabriel, California, who has dashed by major milestones as his age seems to lag behind. He graduated from community college at age 11. Four years later, he had a bachelor's degree in math from the University of California, Los Angeles.

From what I understand, here "dashed by" means he quickly get lots of milestones. But why does it say "seems to lag behind" at the end of the sentence? Is the author trying to say that even though he got so many achievements he's still wasting his genius?

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It is his age that seems to lag behind. This may seem strange, but I can vouch from (much less drastic) personal experience that when you're younger than your classmates, it usually feels like you are "behind" your peers (=classmates) in age, rather than like you're "ahead of" your peers (=agemates) in grade.

  • Thank you so much. Now I understand it is his "age" instead of himself lag behind of his achievements. :) – Chen93 Jul 21 '18 at 20:46
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I think this is the important part of the sentence:

who has dashed by major milestones as his age seems to lag behind

I put the first part in bold to distinguish between the two parts. The first part indicates this person has achieved some major milestones. For example (as explained in the other part of your excerpt), he has graduated from UCLA before aged 15.

The second part of indicates he isn't as old as you would expect seeing these achievements. Indeed, most freshman in college are at least 17 years old (yet he graduated at 15).

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