Being in Science Olympiad and the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) for the past four years has given senior Jennifer Yang unlimited opportunities to grow as a student, friend and person in the most rewarding ways possible. But, great things are still in store for Yang as her last semester of high school comes to a close.
As captain of the Science Olympiad (SciOly) team and the leader of the Creative Problem Solving Committee in HOSA, Yang pursues every task with her best effort knowing there is always room for personal improvement.
For starters, Yang led her SciOly team to victory this past weekend and is looking forward to building up her team from there.
“We went to the University of California (UC) Davis invitational… and originally, we were told that we placed third in the state but it turned out that there was a miscalculation. We found out the next day that we placed first! It was a really happy surprise,” exclaimed Yang.
At the competition, Yang competed in her regular four events: Anatomy and Physiology, Disease Detectives, Cell Biology, and Scrambler.
“I [would] say overall, I did pretty okay for my first in-person invitational of the year, so I am just gonna reflect on how I did and try to do better at the next one.”
While winning is important to the success of the team, what makes the victory special is the people surrounding her who Yang said she got to experience it with.
“Throughout the invitational, I would say that our team definitely bonded. I was really glad that after the competition, we got to have a really nice team dinner and after that we kind of just explored the campus,” Yang shared. “There were a lot of wild animals at UC Davis, like we saw ducks, geese, turkeys, so parts of our team just grouped off to explore campus and we had fun while we were doing it too.”
While focusing on finishing her final year of Science Olympiad to her greatest extent in the upcoming months before graduation, Yang is waiting in anticipation for the admissions letters that will guide her to her next path in life.
“I applied for Early Action for two schools that I am waiting to hear back from, probably this week or next week. I also applied to 7/9 UCs as well as a few private schools.”
Yang looks forward to majoring in Neuroscience, but at the colleges, she applied to that do not offer it as a major, she will be majoring in Human Biology or Physiology.
Although Yang is focused on these memorably bustling months prior to graduation, she looks forward to “having more independence and being able to live on my own and be able to form a new group of friends outside of high school.”
Yang shares how “being able to do a lot of more research in what I want to do [in college where] there are more major-specific opportunities and resources…[and]…being able to stay up later and go out later too” are among a few more experiences that excite her about this transition awaiting her.
However, now as Yang’s high school years are soon coming to a close, she reflects on the people she got to share all her wonderful experiences with along the way–both inside and outside the classroom.
“I have been really lucky to meet so many different friends in high school, [but] I would say my closest friends would be my friends in HOSA, those in my Creative Problem-Solving team and my Science Olympiad Team.”
And if there is anyone Yang could credit for the support that has gotten her through these past four years, it is “definitely Mr. Han.”
“Mr. Han is my HOSA advisor, Science Olympiad coach, and my Biomedical Teacher for three out of the four years, and has really helped me grow since my freshman year to really branch out,” Yang reminisces. “[His example] showed me that there are really good teachers in academics, but also good teachers in life–and I would say that he is both.”
While looking back on the many busy days of balancing both co-curricular with competitions, practices, and not to mention, homework, Yang expresses how days without much work sometimes would feel out of tune with the fast-paced schedule she has grown accustomed to.
“Personally–I do not know if this happens to anyone else–but when I do not have anything to do, I get more stressed wondering why I do not have anything to do because I just stress about …[feeling] like I should be doing something,” Yang explained. “[Most of the time, though,] I would usually catch up on studying for SciOly, my personal reading apart from school and spending time with my dogs. But most of the time I catch up on sleep.”
But nevertheless, Yang’s personal mindset, coupled with the people she surrounds herself with, is what has strengthened and inspired her in the course of her high school experience.
“I think it is important to remember why you are doing what you are doing. The ‘why’ is really what keeps me going. When I compete in Science Olympiad, sometimes it can be difficult, but you just have to remember, ‘I chose this event, I like doing this, it’s why I am here,’” Yang imparts, “So that mindset of doing what you love and being able to overlook all the obstacles is what really helps me stay motivated.”
Anticipating the monumental transitioning period in front of her, Yang is preparing herself for life after high school by wholeheartedly making the most out of her experiences up until then.