"I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in these turbulent times and doing what they can to help the people around them."

June 2, 2020

Hello! I took my AP Literature and Calculus exam, and it went well for both. I think my main worry was freezing up in the middle of the test, but I wrote something for both. I only have AP Macroeconomics left, and then I am done. After I took those two tests, my brain needed to rest, and I didn't do anything else for the rest of the week. My biology teacher made all the work due on Sunday, so I left everything for then. It was stressful, but it's the same stress I've had this whole school year. It is just harder to work when I don't have any breaks. The entire day is spent doing work or thinking about work. It's hard to separate work from the rest of your life when it is in the same space, and you don't have a life other than staying home. 

The teachers are still giving work for the rest of the year, but it's very easy to do so far. Next week, there will be a community week at the school, and we just catch up on work that week. It's supposed to be a week where teachers don't post any new homework. Students can also get virtual tutoring from other students I volunteered to be a tutor. 

I will be going home with my mom soon, hopefully. I haven't seen her since February, and I am looking forward to having decent internet and riding my bike.

I watched some of the Obamas' graduation ceremony. I know graduation is a significant milestone. I'm part of the first generation in my family to graduate high school in the United States, and I'll be the first to go to college. But, for me, the event doesn't define the accomplishment. The all-nighters and headaches I've had because of school make me know I did something. A lack of ceremony does not erase everything I did to get here or the support my family had to give. For me, it's about what I can do with the diploma and how I got it more than getting it handed to me. 

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in these turbulent times and doing what they can to help the people around them. I'm trying to think of more things to do for the summer because once school is over there won’t be much to do. I have some books I want to read, but I never do. I know my college is going to give me summer work, but I’m still not clear on how it is going to work. Anyway, I'll see you all next time.

"Homework has been my focus this week. Even when I FaceTime with my friends, it's to do homework while talking about random things. It's like a virtual study hall."

May 8, 2020

Hello! I can't believe it's May already. There are only a few days until my first AP test for the year, and I feel entirely unprepared. It's mostly my fault because my biggest problem is trying to stay focused. Instead of paying attention to the question I need to answer, I start trying to calculate how much I need to get right to pass. I had four AP tests coming up, but I decided to not take the biology one since my college does not accept it for biology majors. With the rest of my tests, I have to get five out of five for it to count. I feel like that is somewhat plausible for calculus and economics, but for literature and composition, it's impossible to tell. I only write good essays if there is a good vibe, and I don't get good vibes from my unstable internet. 

I've started reading Sula by Toni Morrison. It was recommended to me by Gabe. I've never read a book so fast before. I'm enjoying it more than The Bluest Eye so far, but I think that's because I wasn't forced to read it for school. They're both excellent reads. 

Homework has been my focus this week. Even when I FaceTime with my friends, it's to do homework while talking about random things. It's like a virtual study hall. We haven't had time to play RISK again. My friend keeps challenging me, but she's been practicing, and I'm scared she's going to win in like two minutes. 

I'm scared about going to college if we are even allowed to go in the fall. Mostly because of the roommate situation. I keep getting different recommendations on what to do. Some people are telling me to find a roommate beforehand and some tell me to just let there be a random match. I prefer the random match because I'd rather meet people in person, but living with someone I know absolutely nothing about is scary. I thought you get to rank what residential hall you want to live in, but it's all random. I hope I get in one with an air conditioner or at least the ones that only five people share the bathroom. I'm just going to let it be. I think it's best if I don't reach out to anyone because I'm terrible at texting people. I remember I had to send letters to my brother while he was in boot camp, and all I did was talk about world history.

Anyway, all these Bon Appetite videos I'm watching are turning me into a chef. I can now make an omelet that doesn't fall apart. I made a sandwich one day, and the next day a video was posted about "pantry sandwiches." One of them was the exact same thing I made just with different bread, so we may have a lawsuit on our hands. I'm just kidding, I would never do that to Claire. 

I hope you all are doing well and taking care of yourselves. I hope I didn't bore you and that you come back next time so I can talk more about Bon Appetit!


April 30, 2020

I decided on Cornell University. Go, Big Red! I don't really know what that means, it's probably their sports team name or, like, the name of the bear. I mostly looked at the food, dorms, and opportunities while doing research. I'm already planning on what insomnia cookies to buy!

This week has not been the best in quarantine because I feel like I'm not even a person. I just sleep all day and sometimes do work at night. Earlier this week, I woke up from my third nap and reached for my phone. It wouldn't turn on. I knew it was charged because I used it earlier, and it had high batteries. The screen just wouldn't come up. I tried my computer, and it was frozen too. I had a "That's So Raven," vision. I saw myself failing every class and not graduating. But, I just ate pancakes. I was freaked out, but I didn't see the point in overreacting. I managed to fix it by searching up how to force a restart on my cousin's computer.

My teachers are saying this is a great way to practice being in the real world. I understand how self-motivation is essential, but a big part of that involves things that we aren't able to do.

This is boring, but I still believe we should have a quarantine. My personal wants are not as important as the millions of people at risk for this disease. Sadly, some people feel getting their haircut is more important than someone's life, but what can we do?

Anyway, let's try to move on to the happy things that have happened to me this week. My friends and I found an app version of the game RISK and it is so fun to play. It takes a lot of patience because you have to wait for everyone's turn, but I could spend hours playing it. I prefer playing with a group instead of one-on-one because I can distract my friends with each other while I take over the map. I played one-on-one with my friend yesterday, and it was intense. She won, but I told her not to get too comfortable. I had to put on a face mask after and listen to calming music.

My cousin bought some paints and canvases online, so I might get to paint something. I don't know when they are coming, but it's something to look forward to. My school has decided to make graduation and senior awards virtual this year. I'm going to make a fake cap and gown with a robe and a piece of paper.

I look forward to going to Cornell. It's close to my mom's house, and the food looks good. I did the housing survey, and it doesn't let you pick which residential building you want. I have a feeling I'm going to be put in the worst one. I'm debating on if I should buy a hoodie or not. They are expensive, but if I buy one I can help stimulate the economy!

I hope everyone is safe and doing what they are supposed to do!

"It's a little harder to focus on my life for the next four years when we have so much to worry about now, but what else can we do but push through it."​

April 17, 2020

My name is Pamela, and I am a part of the Bottom Line program in New York. The decision date for college is approaching, and I change my mind about which college I would like to attend every thirty minutes. I'm choosing between Hamilton College, Barnard College, and Cornell University.

We are about a month into the quarantine, and the switch to online classes has been pretty smooth since my school already used online platforms to assign homework. The only problem is having the energy to do any of the work they assign. I still haven't fallen behind on any work, but everyday teachers keep adding to the pile of work and sending emails. It feels overwhelming. I wake up panicking every day at 9 am, worried if I missed any emails, and then fall back asleep as soon as I check my phone. However, during quarantine, I've been sleeping more and have clearer skin, so the stress balances out.

Outside of school, I was involved in handball and an internship at BioBus. Handball was my favorite form of physical activity. I try to do exercise on my own, but it's just boring. It's at times like this that I wonder what happened to my Wii!

Biobus is continuing through Zoom. BioBus for my section is divided into three parts throughout the year. In the fall, we learned about Neuroscience and some model organisms. In the winter, we were teaching elementary and middle school students about these. In the spring, we planned to research whatever topics we choose. We didn't get to finish our last two classes because that's when colleges began to close their campuses and limit gatherings, and we're based at Columbia University. We started on our research, but then we had to quarantine. We've had to modify our research projects to be about science communication, but I find it fun. I hate being on a call for two hours, but the work is enjoyable to do. My partner and I are making a podcast about what happens to the brain during stress. We have done a basic outline, but still have to write a script, do more literature-based research, and contact some mentors. Once we do all this, we want to get a small audience of high school students on the podcast with us so that it can be more interactive and less like a lecture.

Other than doing work, I have also been watching a lot of movies halfway, coloring, and craving bacon egg and cheeses from the bodega on the same block as my school. I haven't been out other than to get groceries with my cousin, so I miss the sunlight. I'm at my aunt's house because my mom went to the Dominican Republic before the pandemic and got stuck there because of it. The view from my window is somebody's living room, so I don't get to see outside. It's a little harder to focus on my life for the next four years when we have so much to worry about now, but what else can we do but push through it.