For us, it’s easy to see that Musk was a unique kid. His father must have thought so too since he sent Musk to a few special schools. The first was Waterkloof House Preparatory School, a prestigious school for boys that teaches up until middle school.
The second was Bryanston High School, but a change was apparently in order since he eventually graduated from Pretoria Boys High School. The first was state-run, while the second was funded through tuition and is far more prestigious.
Learning the Ropes
While he was growing up, Musk was a voracious reader. He read almost everything he could get his hands on, and it proved to be an incredibly helpful thing. By the age of twelve, he had taught himself computer programming, and he was even able to make money at it from such an early age.
He wrote a simple video game in a BASIC-based language called “Blastar” and sold the code to the computing magazine “PC and Office Technology” for around five hundred dollars. If you want to see what a twelve-year-old future genius can come up with, a version of the game is still available to play online.
The Target of Bullies
We all had our bullies when we were kids, but Musk – reportedly a shy, introverted, nerdy kid – might have had it rougher than all of us. According to his 2015 biography, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, Musk had to be put in hospital after he was seriously bullied and hurt by a group of boys.
Musk has said that the reason for this assault was opposing the unjust discrimination that were part of apartheid. He scolded people who used ethnical slurs, and he paid for it. Still, he was right in the end.
Moving To Canada
Musk knew that he wanted to go where the action was: the United States. However, he also knew that it would be easier to enter the states via Canada, and not directly from South Africa. He applied for a Canadian passport through his Canadian-born mother, and in the meantime attended the University of Pretoria for five months, allowing him to avoid mandatory service in the South African military.
Musk was able to make it to Canada in June 1989, where he lived with a second cousin in Saskatchewan for a year. There, he worked odd jobs to save up cash for college.
Back to the Books
In 1990, Musk entered Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, but it wasn't even close to the last place he attended for his post-secondary education. Two years later he would transfer to the University of Pennsylvania, where he would add an extra year to rack up a double major in physics and economics.
Even at this age, Musk was pretty sure about what kind of industries he was going to get into. SpaceX is a physics company when you think about it. And it's always a good idea to know what you're doing when it comes to money, which is why his majors fit hit like a glove.