Day in the Life of an SSS (Michelle Luo ’19)

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Day in the Life of an SSS (Michelle Luo ’19)

Life at MSMS is centered around school. There’s piles of homework left undone, late-night study groups and extracurriculars that leave me out of my dorm room from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Now, that sort of high-stress life hasn’t plagued me as much since junior year. Being a second-semester-senior or “SSS” (pronounced ‘sssss’), I’m experiencing my lightest schedule since leaving my home-school. Still, I’ve got eight classes, unlike many SSSs, who, thanks to either being more intelligent with their course selections junior year or having taken required classes like AP Statistics or Economics at their home-schools, only have five or six classes. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I take six one-hour-long classes.

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I leave my room between 7:30 to 7:50 a.m. I turn on a lamp for my plants since my room doesn’t get much light. I take my wallet, keys, phone and backpack and on my way down the stairs, I pat my pockets to make sure everything is still in place.

Today is Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

In University English II, we watch the BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice in Mrs. Richardson’s absence. It’s an excellent rendition of the story that hooks me in. I figure I might actually like reading Pride and Prejudice, too.

Michelle Luo
I have succulents in my room in various states of distress.

Following English, I have AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, and learn about electric potential some more. Then I have Russian, and we spend the hour conjugating verbs in instrumental case. Genetics comes next.

Finally, I have lunch. Food at the Hogarth Cafeteria always nets groans and complaints that it’s always either over or under-seasoned, over or under-cooked. It’s still a decent bit better than the typical school lunch. I use this time as social hour, finding a seat at a particular table that everyone else I know sits at.

Michelle Luo
The clue on the student lounge whiteboard is above, and the clue I eventually received is below.

Following lunch, I find something mysterious… it’s another “clue” indicating I will find another “clue” on Thursday. I had received an equally bewildering “clue” the previous day. Even though I was to receive the next clue on Thursday, I got it later that night. The plot thickened. (I thought it was my junior secret pal, but actually it was my suitemate’s devious plot to ask me to the Sadie Hawkin’s dance. Unfortunately, I went home that weekend.)

I have two classes: government and Calculus III. I never really expected to enjoy government class since it’s one of those I have to take. But it’s a low-stress class where note-taking becomes enjoyable and the discussion is always lively.

Seventh period is an off-block for me. Some days I return to my room, and others I head to Dr. Benge’s room to hang out before class. There are always students there doing math homework or discussing important math things. I meander around the room drawing cats on the whiteboards. During Calculus III, we learn about the convergence of alternating series. Very useful stuff.

After school, I pause for a moment to consider if it’s safe to return to my room or if I must be roped into doing something actually important.

I return to my dorm room to continue watching BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, having discovered it free to stream on Amazon Prime Video. I finish the first episode and make a good way into the second. I pause the episode before Mr. Collin’s embarrassing proposal and make dinner. I have crackers and cheese with avocado. I humble myself later with some Maruchan ramen.

It’s nearly 6:00 p.m. on a Wednesday, which means it’s time for Science Bowl. Science Bowl always keeps my self-esteem in check. Sometimes I wonder why I keep going, but at this point, I’m in too deep. I get a grand total of one question correct, and my head thumps in frustration.

Michelle Luo
Room inspection day is Tuesday for 4th floor Goen. Our suite keeps organized with a cleaning schedule.

Following Science Bowl, I meet with Mrs. Zarandona and the other Mu Alpha Theta Co-Presidents for some important super-secret-but-not-really stuff and make many tough decisions. This takes us until 8:30 p.m., the end of tutorials for the day. Being a club president takes a decent bit of routine work, and Mu Alpha Theta in particular is a kind of cornerstone of MSMS.

After study hours, I walk around the school in lieu of my usual gym-going. I make a stop in the library, in study room D, where several juniors are most definitely not studying. Eventually, I circle back to my room and find something to occupy myself until room check and bed, probably homework or an amusing Internet thing.

Many SSSs succumb to Second-Semester-Senior-Syndrome, or SSSS, also known as “senioritis.” I’m mildly pleased to say, I’m not afflicted with senioritis. In fact, I feel more in control of my life than ever. I definitely had rough times, but they come with familiar feelings. Familiarity, I can handle.

Last school year, I wrote an article for the Vision reflecting on the first nine weeks. I detail minor regrets, looking toward the future with latent uncertainty. It always colors our lives. “One quarter, one chapter is already sealed,” one line reads. These “chapters” are never truly sealed, vaulted away as I had conceived. Another chapter threatens to close, but I can always go back to read them.