The Girls!

Jovina & Joys Annika G. David

Sisters & Pre-Med StudentsMalibu, CAStory & Photos by Lauri Levenfeld
When we received the submission of Jovina David for TPFG Super Girl Contest last December, we were astounded. Not only were her academic achievements unheard of (attending university at 13), but it was her big-picture concepts, her desire to change the world, and her empathy and compassion for others. And then her sister came along, Joys Annika G. David, who just like her big sis was enrolled in college (at 11 years old) and who looked at the world as her ever-evolving canvas, one which she could shape her passions and ambitions into goals not many would dream of. What we find striking about the two is their ability to dream big, try new things and go outside of their comfort zone. To choose to live life differently than what is paved before them…and to choose to do this side by side together as sisters and best friends.

1. Who are you? What were you like as a child?

Jovina: Hi everyone! My name is Jovina David and I am a sixteen year old college student, sister, daughter, and friend. I am currently living in Malibu, California attending Pepperdine University, but I am originally from a small city near San Francisco, California. Right now, I am majoring in Psychology, with a Sports Medicine Minor and an emphasis in Pre-Medicine. I am a family-girl who loves creativity, learning, traveling, and going on amazing adventures, especially if it involves trying new things! As a child, I’ve heard I was a very energetic kid. I loved dancing and being the center of attention, but I also enjoyed puzzles and anything involving art. A few years ago, I was also a competitive judo martial artist with an awesome coach and team. I competed everywhere in the Bay Area and also attended piano lessons with my sister. If ever I am not throwing anyone, I am usually drawing, listening to music, or playing the piano :)

Joys: Hello! My name is Joys Annika G. David. I am a thirteen-year-old, Pre-Medicine student majoring in creative writing and minoring in English literature. Although my unusual college student status stands out the most to many individuals and has provided me with priceless opportunities, I do not want this one element of my life to define who I am. I am a young lady who believes in the goodness of people and who craves for a future that is built off of this virtuousness and the invaluable voice each individual, verbal or not, possesses. I am a dreamer and an advocate, a lover of family, food, traveling, service learning, and books, a dancer, writer, believer, and adventurer.

When I was younger, I was an idealist with my head always thinking about the future. I loved to read and write stories, do projects, color, and dance ballet. In many ways, I am still the same, but in the past two years, I flourished into a girl with a better understanding of the world, and one transformed in faith, courage, and heart.


 2. What does sisterhood mean to you? The best and worst parts (if there are any?:))

Jovina: Sisterhood is everything to me, especially in our unique situation. Joys and I were close from the beginning. We love each other’s company, whether it is during good times or bad. We lean on each other when life gets tough, celebrate together when one succeeds, and

encourage each other when one of us needs it. Of course, we also have “misunderstandings.” It’s funny because we argue about the silliest things. I don’t remember ever being upset with Joys for more than a few hours, we always end up making each other laugh and forgetting what we fought over. The one thing I love most about our sisterhood is knowing that I have someone who understands what I’m going through and always having a best friend by my side.

Joys: Sisterhood, like most strong relationships, means commitment, compromise, and a right-hand companion. What is different in sisterhood compared to other relationships, however, is this new level of “closeness,” trust, and understanding. The day I was born, I became Jovina’s doll. She would dress me up, play with me, and care for me. Growing up, we were always close. We shared the same bedroom, dressed similarly, watched the same shows, and went the same places. We would even try to convince others we were twins. Although I looked up to her in every way but physically, I saw us as equals. I think the reason my first year in a university was so surprising, was because I began to see the world, including our sisterhood, in a different light. Jovina and I depend on each other. Especially in our situation, our physical, mental, and spiritual health depends on this dependence. In the past academic school year, I was able to see her grow in confidence, heart, and comity. Coming to Pepperdine made me realize our age gap, but it also connected us in a special way.


 3. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Jovina: Our mom is definitely our biggest inspiration. She has a big heart and enjoys conversing with others. I love how patient and kind she is, but at the same time, bold and strong. She inspires us to be well-rounded people and encourages us to always be willing to help others.

Because our mom cares for four kids, she continues to put our needs before hers, which to me, means a lot of sacrifice. She teaches us to put family and God first, but also to always have room to spread love to others.  I believe Joys and I can agree that we want to grow up to be like our mom. We want to be passionate, patient, loving, but equally as strong and fearless.

4. What are your passions and how do you nurture them?

Jovina: I have many passions… and discovered even more as I attended Pepperdine. Because my parents gave me many opportunities to discover some of my passions, I learned to appreciate music, art, and judo. I love the way music and art can change your perspective and move you, while judo gave me discipline, respect, and endurance. I also love surrounding myself with awesome people who have amazing stories, as well as helping others through volunteering.

Joys: Ever since I was younger, I was fascinated with writing and reading. I believe that one of the most marvelous phenomenon is the connection between an author, their words, and the reader. A story itself is magical, but the author has the power to create and manipulate the magic. I am in awe by the way a fictional story can spawn the strongest emotions such as hate, love, anguish, and jealousy, or how it can make one laugh, blush, or cry. Writing and dancing are the means easiest for me to express my thoughts and feelings. These, combined with helping others, broadening my consciousness, and making a difference, are what I am passionate about. Such passions are some of the driving factors of my actions. I am constantly feeding them by allowing my heart and mind to work together in order to produce and act upon ways that they can be conveyed. This includes an ever-growing list of personal projects which utilize all of the aspects above.


5. What was it like to go to college at 11&13? Why did you choose this path?

Jovina: Honestly, my family never planned for my sister and I to go to college early. It took many conversations and unique ideas for our situation to be created. At first, college at such a young age seemed a little scary. You have to surround yourself with “older” individuals and keep an open mind, while trying to stay true to yourself and your values. We decided to choose this path because there were more pros than cons. Yeah, I might have to miss my prom and a high school graduation, but I get to discover independency, unravel my heart’s desires, and complete my goals while still being able to experience so much more in the future. Right now, college is amazing! I have met inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, created unforgettable friendships that I will treasure forever, but most importantly, I believe I have blossomed into a better person throughout my time at Pepperdine. I became a more active friend, a jollier individual, and positively motivated human being.


Joys: Going to college at eleven was definitely the most mind-boggling adventure I have ever taken. Attending college so young is an experience where growth is the only option. It requires maturity, a high adversity quotient, a set mind, persistent study habits, and good social skills. These said assets started to grow from the days Jovina and I were born, but they started to soar the day we stepped foot on campus. Although transitioning and wrapping our heads around the fact that we were so-called “different” was a challenge, I could not imagine taking another path. I have met my dearest friends and the most heart-warming people, am able to travel to far off places, expand my awareness, and form many of my favorite experiences on this fast-lane.


6. Tell us about your parents and what are their philosophies and ideals for you two?

Jovina: Our parents are our biggest supporters and mentors. They support us in all we do and want us to love and enjoy our journey through life. In relation to my parents’ philosophies, they taught us that everything is in the mind, meaning that our thoughts shape our actions. That is why we believe AQ (adversity quotient) and a positive attitude is really important. AQ is not similar to IQ, instead it tests your mental endurance. When are you willing to give up?

Based on having a strong and positive mental attitude, we believe that anything you want is possible.


7. Name a song that best describes you two. And five things you love to do together.

Jovina: I think we can both agree that “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5 best describes our sisterhood. Not only is it a feel-good song we both enjoy lip-syncing to, but it also has lyrics that truly match our relationship with each other, knowing we will always be there for one another. As for the fun things we enjoy doing together, we both love getting boba at Volcano in Los Angeles or Gong Cha when we are back in the Bay Area, going to amusement parks like Universal Studios, Disneyland, or Six Flags, trying new dessert places, rollerskating/ice skating, or just eating a bag of chips in my room, while talking and having some sister bonding time.  

8. You are currently packing up, where are you off to?

Joys: Buenos Aires in Argentina! Jovina and I are studying abroad this summer and are beyond excited. It will definitely be a refreshing experience full of exploring, engaging in Argentina’s unique culture, and of course, indulging in Argentine desserts.


9. What has been your hardest challenge? How did you conquer it?

Jovina: My biggest challenge was definitely living far from my family because of college. I had to get used to the feeling of not having all my siblings around, not having my parents to help me with my responsibilities, and not being able to spend time with my close friends. At first, I was worried about all the things I had to do for myself, knowing I didn’t have anyone to rely on, but when I finally started to get the hang of things, it wasn’t so bad. If ever I get homesick, I would FaceTime my family, when I needed strength or comfort, I prayed, and because my friends weren’t around anymore, it gave me opportunities to create new relationships. In the end, I think my hardest challenge played out nicely. It may have started out a little rough, but a positive attitude goes a long way and I learned that life really does end up for the better.

Joys: My hardest challenge would be transitioning into college and then again into a university. Growing up, I always dreamed big and worked hard to reach my dreams. Although it might not have been the best to do so young, I planned out my entire life to the extremes. It was on my agenda to be a well-rounded student and to graduate 

high school as valedictorian. As I toiled for such high goals, I saw myself improve in my studies and extracurricular activities every day– I was content. When college was a sure path, I was devastated that everything I planned and hoped to accomplish would be thrown away. My unsure future “without a social life” scared me, and I questioned my ability to jump into higher education that of which people usually spend years to prepare for. Before I started college, I had to rewire my mentality since I knew that without the rewiring, what I was attempting would be impossible. As I accustomed myself into the flow of classes, I adjusted myself to “adult” topics and performance. At that time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but looking back, I wouldn’t do anything different. Transition is a challenge, but if we are not growing, we are shrinking. One thing I learned through my experience, is that it is not until we step out of our comfort zone that we actually start to live.


10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jovina: In five years, I see myself in medical school, still working hard to fulfill my ambitions and hopefully a little taller!

Joys: Five years forward, I envision myself in medical school studying to be a surgeon. I also hope to be a published author and to have completed the handful of projects I am currently working on, as well as have started new ones.

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