Day in the Life of an Amateur Athlete (Gina Nguyen ’20)

Courtesy of Vy Trinh

Gina Nguyen, Photography Editor

Life at MSMS comes with various routines, and I guarantee you no two are the same. Some students spend their mornings in class, and others, in bed. In the afternoons, you can find students at the gym or in meetings. When night falls, some choose to relax, and others study for hours. Perhaps my routine will give you a glance at one example of what a typical day is like as a student at MSMS.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Daily Struggle for Mornings Begins

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Steil
Some mornings are rougher than others…

Today’s alarm begins blaring from my phone throughout room 323 at 6:30 a.m. The excruciating pain in my “abs” and thighs from the weekend’s volleyball conditioning hit me as I start shifting under the sheets to turn the alarm off. It takes me a solid two seconds to decide that the shower is gonna have to wait until after school and to fall right back asleep. Round 2 comes in what feels like a blink of an eye, and the 6:45 alarm goes off — this time, across the room on my desk. (Keep in mind, I put it there, so I wouldn’t crawl back to bed after turning it off. Let’s just say it works some days…) I hop off the top bunk to turn not only that alarm off, but the 7:00 one too; I’ve been told this is a dangerous move. As you can see, I’m not a morning person. Because climbing back up to my bed would take too much effort, I proceed to drag a blanket and my stuffed corgi down and make myself comfortable on the rug. I finally awaken to the sound of my roommate getting ready at 7:20, and Mrs. Brown’s voice rings in my head, “You can make those class changes only if you promise to eat a balanced breakfast in the cafeteria every morning.”

I really am not a morning person.”

— Gina Nguyen

With this in mind, I scram to check the weather–always check the weather, you can never predict it in Mississippi–get ready and hurry out the door. I skip out on the elevator today and endure the pain of stairs instead. A gust of wind hits my bare face upon opening the door, but I fight the winter air in order to keep my promise to Mrs. Brown.

For breakfast, I grab the usual: a spinach and mushroom omelette, a scoop of baked potato cubes, a couple sausages and yogurt with fruits. While I eat, I greet my friends as they appear one-by-one and send my Snapchat streaks (I know, I know, this literally screams Gen Z). I pour hot sauce on my omelette and dig in. One bite in and a piece flies onto my lap. Knowing it would leave a stain, I sigh, wipe off what I can and munch away. When I notice the time on my phone inching closer and closer to 7:55, I know it is time to go to the dreaded first class of the day: AP Chemistry.

School, Part I

I spend the hour trying to wrap my head around acid-base equilibrium, struggling to hold my eyes open. 8:00 a.m.’s, am I right? With 30 minutes to spare until my next class, I limp down the hall, take the elevator downstairs, and take a 20-minute power nap on the student lounge couches. Next is AP Biology. Another day, another lecture. Today’s topic is genetic disorders. Without that nap, I may have passed out in there. I really am not a morning person. Afterward, I situate back in the student lounge to begin this blog. My “mom” and emissary Mia comes and drags me to lunch with her where I settle for a simple grilled turkey sandwich. Seeing the cafeteria full of MUW students reminds me that the food quality has improved from the previous week (It’s never as good when it’s just us around campus.)

At 12:30 p.m., I head back to Hooper and wait for the one and only MSMS 101 class to begin. No one shows up, so we linger outside the door, trickling down the hall and into the lounge. My friend Hailey proceeds to jokingly announce, “If the teacher doesn’t show up in fifteen minutes, we can leave.” Ironically enough, in about fifteen minutes, a counselor tells us we are free to go.

Since today is a Tuesday, it isn’t as hectic as usual, so I have free time during the school day. My A days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) are much busier.

School, Part II

So 1 o’clock rolls around, cueing me to head over to Shackleford for my final class: Economics. Leaving means hugging the railing as I walk one step at a time down the front steps of Hooper again. We work with the production possibility frontier and discuss how a theoretical kidney market would work. After class, I go back to my dorm and unpack my schoolwork. Before I get too comfortable, my older brother Gary (MSMS ‘18) sends a text letting me know he is leaving for the airport soon. He is on his way back to Boston after hanging around Columbus/Starkville for a week. So I go back out into the cold to say farewell, since I wouldn’t be seeing him again until summer break.

Wannabe Athlete Hours

I return to my room to get some work done before I have to leave again. I check my emails for the twentieth time (don’t worry, it actually becomes second nature to check them), reply to some, and check off the day’s to-do list. The academic day is now over, meaning it’s time for meetings and sports practices. Lately, it’s been a mix of the two every day, but today: tennis conditioning. Oh, I can already feel my muscles tearing.

Hua Chen
Smile through the pain, right?

For some odd reason, I take the stairs again– why do I do this to myself? –and fill my water bottle up. Because the email from our coach says to meet at the gym, I figure we won’t be needing our racquets. But, as other girls walk past me and the water fountain, they carry their racquets. Just in case, I ask a friend to run up with my key to get my roommate’s racquet; I don’t own one, but what are roommates for, right? I’m only kidding…kind of. So I sign out on wellness and lug myself to the Stark Recreation Center with several other teammates, and we get started right away. I was right, by the way; we don’t need the racquets. I have been here to play table tennis, to splash around in the pool and maybe lift a couple 5-lb weights to dub myself part of #swolepatrol, but I have yet to do what I’m about to.

Coach Jon instructs us to run for 20 minutes, do 100 sit-ups and do 25 push-ups. Because the treadmills are full, we start with the sit-ups and push-ups. Despite how much pain I am already in, I push through it and complete them right when a treadmill opens up. I hop on and start right away, but because of the soreness, I rotate between running 5.5 mph and speed-walking at 4.0 mph. When my twenty minutes are up, cheeks are flustered and forehead is dripping, I gulp down some water and head over to the weights where a couple others were squatting. Having only ever squatted once, Hailey spots me as I hold the bar (yes, just the bar) across my shoulders.

I have not worked out this consistently since the first few weeks of school. It’s important to stay physically healthy, but sometimes your mental health should be prioritized. Despite how much I complain, and will continue to complain, I am definitely glad I am choosing to do sports this semester.

My sweat immediately evaporates when I step foot back outside. I take my third and final trip to the cafeteria. By now, the sun has set, causing my long, strenuous journeys across campus (not really) to become more of a struggle. My basically broken legs are enough, but my carelessness for warm clothing is not a nice addition. Once I’m back in the comfort of my own room around 6 o’clock, I continue documenting my day, update my bullet journal, and start my trigonometry homework. Three questions in, and I’m lost. So, naturally, I push it off for later — yikes.

Wrapping Up the Day

Rachel Zheng
I listen to audiobooks on YouTube so often, I find them in my recommended.

The junior class officers then meet up in Goen lobby to further discuss prom details. After a productive hour-long meeting, we all head back to our rooms for room check at 10:30. I take that long overdue shower, make myself a small parfait and talk with some friends for a little bit. Once they leave and the room is quiet again with just my roommate and me, I pull out the remainder of the trigonometry worksheet from earlier and The Awakening to finish up the remainder of my homework.

Today was an early finish for me, but I can’t ever say for sure when I’ll sleep. My sleep routine isn’t the most consistent. Sometimes I turn in before room check. Other nights, I stay up with the night crickets.

Final Thoughts

It’s been a long day, and by writing this blog, I was more aware of how I was spending my time throughout the day. This has definitely allowed me to sit and reflect. To me, life at MSMS is like living in a big city. There are always so many things to do, and you want to make time for it all. We scurry to accomplish the most by taking advantage of all the opportunities we find here. And sometimes, stopping to take a breath can be enlightening.