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Day in Life of a High School Student (in 2020!)

Person using computer

For me, high school has changed dramatically in recent times as school has moved online. However, that doesn’t mean that school is boring! With a day filled with online classes, homework, meetings, research, and other activities, come join me as we go through my day in life as both an online high school student and an aspiring biomedical scientist!

7:30 – Wake up and get ready

My alarm is set for 7:30am, but it usually takes me a while to get up after that, since I really don’t like waking up before the sun is up. Since school starts at 8:00, I have to get up before then to brush my teeth and get ready (well, at least look acceptable for class).

8:00 – First period class

This morning, I have math class first period, and while math isn’t my favorite subject, my teacher does a pretty good job explaining the concepts and making sure the material isn’t too difficult. Since my school has an alternating schedule, I have most of my core classes on Mondays and Thursdays and elective classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so today my classes tend to be harder.

9:00 – Break between classes!

Class runs from 8:00 to 9:20, but sometimes class ends a bit early, so I’ll have time to work on other things, which is helpful since I have many things to do today! For my break today, I spent the time working on a post for our class Instagram page, since I help run the page.

During this time, I was thinking about celebrities, which may seem random, but I was thinking about how celebrities must have a carefully crafted narrative and their actions are often scrutinized by the public, so even though being a celebrity may seem easy, it’s probably more difficult than many would expect.

In Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber’s recent collaboration, titled “Monster,” the song is often interpreted to be about the pressures of the music industry and showing how being a famous pop star isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Anyway, these were my musings for the morning!

9:30 – Second period class

My second period class is English class, and right now, we’re reading Of Mice and Men, which is one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read for class, although the bar isn’t very high, since most of the books I’ve read for class have been, in my opinion, boring and nonsensical.

However, John Steinbeck does a great job showing the struggles of each character, and with each character having more at stake when contributing to George and Lennie’s dream, it just makes the ending all the more painful. Today we played a Kahoot about the novella, which was fun but out of the ordinary, and it also helped that I got 4th place in the game!

This morning, I had an egg and tomato sandwich! I love artisan bread, and my mom recently bought a bread machine, so I’ve been trying out all sorts of fancy bread recipes!

10:00 – Breakfast time!

It’s getting later in the morning, so it’s time for me to actually go eat breakfast. In the beginning of the school year, I planned out my day to eat breakfast at 7:30, but I’m often too lazy to get up until right before class starts so I decided to change my breakfast time to later in the day between classes.

Today I had an egg and tomato sandwich, which was delicious, and after that, I finished up my homework for French class. I also spent the time reading a paper about the ethics of genetic engineering, called “Germline Modification and the Burden of Human Existence | Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.” I really enjoyed reading this paper, since many of the arguments made in the paper directly reflect my opinions. While I try to remain neutral when explaining the arguments of genetic engineering, I absolutely hate the argument about how genetic engineering is unethical because future generations can’t consent. To illustrate, many crucial decisions, such as prenatal treatments, surgeries during childhood, or even decisions like drinking during pregnancy, are made without the child’s consent or full understanding of the treatment. In most places, children before a certain age are not considered to be legally competent, which means that the parent or a designated caregiver can make many decisions for them, including decisions about life-changing treatments. This surely includes unborn children, as unborn children do not have the mental capacity to consent, so consent should not be an issue in determining the ethics of genetic engineering as long as the procedure is in the best interest of the child.

However, some may argue that the decision to genetically engineer a child will have a significant impact on their lives, including when they have the mental capacity to consent. Yet, many children undergo life-changing medical treatments at a young age, which is considered ethical without the child’s consent as long as the treatment was done in the child’s best interest. The same argument could be applied to genetic engineering, which is why I believe the consent argument against genetic engineering is invalid.

Khan Academy SAT Practice

11:00 – SAT practice before lunch

After finishing the paper, I began my SAT practice with Khan Academy. As much as I despise standardized testing (mainly because I’m awful at timed testing), these standardized tests are still unfortunately necessary for many students hoping to pursue higher education. With the future of the SAT uncertain, I’ve been practicing for about 15-30 minutes per day to prepare for the SAT.

While most people would think that an interest in science would make the SAT math section easier, I think it actually makes the reading section easier. For example, since many scientific papers are much more difficult than the SAT science reading section, it makes reading the SAT science articles a breeze. My biggest struggle right now is with the timing and test fatigue on the math section, which is the last section on the test, and the trigonometry portion, because for some reason everything I’ve learned about trigonometry has magically disappeared from my head.

11:30 – Research and lunch time!

Before eating lunch, I decided to take some notes on bacterial conjugation, since that’s what I’m studying right now. Recently, I’ve been studying antibiotic resistance in bacteria as a fun little project, and there are so many papers to read! So far, I’ve read and annotated 21 papers, but I have over 60 tabs on my computer filled with papers that I need to read and take notes on! By 11:45, I decided to go downstairs and go eat lunch, where I had edamame fried rice. I often skip lunch and just eat during my third period class, but that’s not a good habit and it’s important to take a break.

This is the Vendée Globe website!

12:00 – Third period class

My third period class is French class, and right now we’re doing a project where we track the Vendée Globe, which is a solo French yacht race where sailors have to navigate the circumference of the globe. We have to pick a skipper and track their progression throughout the race, and so far, my skipper has been doing fine.

However, some of the other skippers have dropped out of the race, so I’m hoping my skipper will stay strong and finish the race! After that, we went into breakout rooms to create questions for a class Kahoot (there’s been a lot more Kahoot games than usual – but I’m not complaining!), and we wrote some questions about French grammar, as well as some about French culture. I was pretty surprised to learn that many sources say that Disneyland Paris is the most visited place in France rather than other more classic attractions, like the Eiffel Tower!

Wave Learning Festival
Wave Learning Festival is a student-run organization with high school and college students teaching various topics! Check out my post about online learning resources by clicking here!

1:00 – Fourth period class

I’ll be honest, I really don’t like my fourth period class, which is my marketing class. We rarely ever have class, and when we do, it’s only five minutes long with the teacher just giving us instructions about our assignment, which are pretty self-explanatory and don’t require a class period.

However, since I don’t really learn anything in marketing class, I decided to sign up for an Early Stage Entrepreneurship class, which just happens to be at the same time. Today, the lecture was about how to identify the problems faced by consumers, human-centered design, and user interviews. I enjoy business management and entrepreneurship, so I’m glad that I was able to find a course about these topics outside of school!

2:00 – Almost the end of the school day!

It’s almost the end of the school day, and my entrepreneurship class runs until 2:30. During that time, we talked about user interviews and conducted some example interviews and came up with solutions to the problems we found during the interview. Even though in the beginning I regretted taking marketing because I found the class pointless, having the extra time really did open up new doors for me, since now I have the time to take extra classes outside of school and work on my blog instead of doing homework.

Anyway, at 2:45, I met with my team for HOSA, which is a medical club with competitive events for students interested in medicine. I’m planning on doing the Biomedical Debate event, and this year, the topic is “Designer Babies: Should parents be allowed to genetically engineer their offspring?,” which I think is a fun topic because I enjoy learning about CRISPR and genetic engineering.

OpenStax provides free textbooks for students!

3:00 – Meeting with my HOSA team!

Since I meet weekly with my team to prepare for the Biomedical Debate event, today we met again for about an hour, and talked about the rules for this year’s conference, some arguments for and against genetic engineering, and also discussed genetic engineering in general.

We finally came up with some decent points today, so we’ve gotten some progress with our event! This year has been very different for me, since I’ve figured out how to prepare for my events. Last year, I wasn’t sure how to prepare for my HOSA event or even what event to do, so I was incredibly disorganized with studying and preparing. However, this year, I have an amazing team, and we all consistently work on the event together, so I think I’ll be a lot more prepared when club competition season rolls around! I’m also getting pretty good progress on my other events as well, since I recently finished studying a Quizlet set with over 300 terms, and I’m working on reading the textbook for the event.

As a tip, many of the HOSA textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, which is ridiculous considering how many events have multiple textbooks. However, sometimes the PDF version will be posted online, so to find the PDF version, just search up “[title of the book] pdf.” Some people suggest websites such as Library Genesis, OpenStax, or Open Textbook Library. I haven’t had any success with these websites, but many people find them helpful.

Tip: Many textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, so to save money on textbooks, just search up “[title of the book] pdf” to find textbooks that may have been posted online. Some websites that provide free textbooks include Library Genesis, OpenStax, and Open Textbook Library.

4:00 – Do homework

Like most high school students, homework is usually a part of my day. I don’t have much homework though, especially with modified online school. Today I only had a couple math problems to do, which only took me half an hour.

While it may be an unpopular opinion among students, I actually don’t mind homework as long as it’s a reasonable amount. I think homework gives students a chance to review the material a couple hours after we’ve learned it, so it can be a helpful tool when used correctly.

Unfortunately, many teachers don’t utilize homework correctly, and instead give students busy work, such as copying and pasting the contents of a slideshow onto a document (which is an assignment I’ve done way too many times for marketing class). For me, when my teacher assigns busy work or work that doesn’t require much thinking, I usually do it when I’m not fully focused on the assignment, such as when catching up on my favorite TV show. It saves time, and also gets the assignment done.

It’s also important to actually be interested in the subject. For example, recently, my friends and I were talking about how we had to read, annotate, and write papers in history class. I thought reading, annotating, and writing papers multiple times a week was boring, but then I realized I regularly read and annotate scientific papers and write articles about topics in science on my blog, and I actually enjoy doing it. While it’s not always possible to only take classes you’re interested in because of graduation credits and recommended educational pathways, it’s a good time to figure out what you’re interested in by thinking about how much you enjoy a particular class.

It’s important to note that teachers and classmates can play a huge impact on how you view a class though, so try to figure out the classes where you actually enjoy the material.

This is my homemade Christmas wreath, which I made by tying together multiple pine branches! I actually added fairy lights to the wreath later on, but I didn’t take a picture of it.

5:00 – Decorate the house for the holidays!

With the holidays coming up soon, it’s the perfect time to start decorating for the holidays! I decided to decorate the Christmas tree today, since it’s one of the main decorations. We have a small artificial Christmas tree that we reuse every year, and this year I added Christmas lights and homemade ornaments from my elementary crafting days to the tree, and also put some pillow stuffing as snow on the tree.

The tree looks a bit skinny and not fluffy enough, but I think the fake snow looks a lot better than I expected especially since I decided to use the pillow stuffing on a whim. I also decided to string up some Christmas lights around the house and wrap some fairy lights around our homemade Christmas wreath. The fairy lights make the Christmas wreath look a lot better, and the wreath itself was actually quite easy to make!

6:00 to 8:00 – Eat dinner, continue research, finish up decorations!

After decorating the house, I decided to take a break by eating dinner. For dinner, I had noodles with vegetables.

Then, I decided to continue my research on bacteria. It’s a lot of work since I’ve already filled up half of my notebook in just a couple weeks, but it’s definitely fun to learn more about bacteria, since research has a real-world application. Since I’m researching the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and ways to treat antibiotic resistance, it’s much more fun to learn about something that is an issue in real life.

I usually spend the time after dinner finishing up my work outside of school, such as doing research for fun, working on my blog, or just relaxing and watching a movie. Since the Christmas tree didn’t look fluffed enough, I decided to go fluff the Christmas tree, which I think did make the tree look a bit better. There were a lot of branches that hadn’t been fluffed since coming out of the box, so the tree looks a bit fuller now.

9:00 Exercise

While it may seem atypical to workout at night, I like to exercise when I’ve finished all my work since I won’t have to be reminded of all the work I haven’t finished. For today’s exercise, I decided to do some stretches, although sometimes I do some cardio, yoga, HIIT, or ab workouts. It’s also nice to end the day with some exercises, although there has been some anecdotal evidence that working out before bed is a bad habit, especially if you have trouble sleeping.

However, there’s no hard science backing that, so it’s all dependant on what you think is best for you. Personally, I haven’t noticed a correlation between my sleep and exercise schedule.

10:00 Get ready for bed and go to sleep!

It’s finally time to go to sleep! My bedtime routine is pretty boring, I take a shower, wash my face, and brush my teeth. However, I like to read a book before going to bed to prevent the electronics and blue light during the day from disrupting my sleep.

This week, I’ve been reading “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger because it’s an incredibly famous book, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about the book. It seems like there are two opinions on the book, most people either hate or love it. Personally, I’m a bit confused about the book, because it seems like there’s no central plot and the book just follows around the main character, Holden Caulfield, as he drops out of school. Some people love the book though, and I would definitely like to hear why!

And that’s the end of my day! Comment down below your favorite book!

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2 Comments

  1. AmethystAP

    Wow, that’s a pack day. Your day seems very organised and scheduled. I studied sciences in high school as well and have a B.Sc in Biology with a minor in psychology. It was interested learning about biochemistry and crisper as well. Though I don’t use my degree in the world of work now, reading your passion and habits was nice. Maybe we can geek out on the world of science something and u can get me back in the loop. I’m ashamed to say I’ve neglected that part of my life.

    • Pinyu

      That’s awesome! It’s so great to get to meet someone who also loves to geek out on the world of science – there’s so much to be fascinated by, like you said, CRISPR, immunology, stem cells, and so many more! I would love for you to continue to join me on my journey as an aspiring biomedical scientist as I continue to pursue biology in the future to see what it’s like as a STEM student nowadays 🙂

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