Second-semester seniors use extra free time to delve into fun activities

April 1, 2024 — by George Hu
Graphic by George Hu
With their extra free time, second semester seniors explore fun new activities that interest them.
Second-semester seniors say they find it easier to balance their academic workload with new pursuits.

For seniors, clicking the “submit” button for their final college application sparks immense relief and joy. One of the most stressful periods of their lives is finally over, and a lot of time is opened up to start exploring new hobbies. Here are three seniors and how they’re spending their last few months of high school.

Joseph Lam: Creative coding, tennis and arm wrestling

With his extra free time, Joseph Lam is working on coding bots such as a Pokemon Showdown AI bot, which determines what the stats — the numerical values that represent how good a Pokemon’s various attributes (such as speed, defense, and attack power) are — of each Pokemon is and determines the best move every turn in a Pokemon battle. To do so, the bot communicates via WebSocket, a computer communication protocol that furnishes two-way communication channels.

“Coding is enjoyable because it’s fun to see my ideas become created and brought out to life,” Lam said.

In addition to coding, he is playing on the school’s tennis team and became a member of the arm wrestling club, allowing him to stay fit and get stronger with like-minded peers.

“I like getting exercise, as it’s exciting to see your progress and beat people you previously lost to,” Lam said.

To balance his current demanding schoolwork, which consists of four AP classes, he devotes every Saturday to homework, while the other days are a mix between extracurricular activities and schoolwork. On days before tests, he focuses less on his hobbies and prioritizes studying.

Dhruv Kapur: More time watching TV and hanging with friends

Since Dhruv Kapur is taking only classes at school this year, he feels that his workload is manageable compared to his junior and sophomore years, when he also took classes at West Valley College. 

This extra time allows him to go out with friends more to places such as Valley Fair Mall  — which he now visits twice a week — and begin consistently watching TV shows such as “Young Sheldon.”

However, Kapur understands that he still needs to keep up with his schoolwork and find a good balance. In order to achieve this, he dedicates a couple days a week to finishing the bulk of his schoolwork. He typically does this the day before major assignments or tests. On other days, he strives to finish all of his schoolwork during tutorial, lunch and break to minimize the time he has to spend working at home. 

With this plan in mind, Kapur can enjoy his final high school semester and avoid excessive stress while still being able to grow and flourish academically.

“I’m glad that I now have an opportunity to relax more and that high school is coming to a close, as the last three years of school have been stressful for me with the difficult academic workload,” Kapur said.

Rohan Chopra: More time working on the MAP Capstone film, dancing in Bombay in the Bay and creating his own music

With the free time that has opened up for Rohan Chopra after completing college applications, he is focusing more on his extracurriculars and outside work, which includes participating in Bombay in the Bay (BnB) and working on his MAP Capstone film.

For BnB, Chopra participated in the All Boys Dance, practicing almost seven times per week for the four weeks leading up to the event.

“I enjoyed BnB because it allowed me to socialize and bond with others, and made for good memories,” Chopra said.

On top of BnB, Chopra is working on his MAP Capstone film, a 10-minute spy thriller film based in a dystopian future. He is working on this film two hours a day, primarily focusing on filming and editing. In addition to starring in the film, he also co-directs, writes and edits it.

Along with this, Chopra has spent more time working on his music, which primarily features pop. His music is released on Spotify under the artist name “RORO.” On Spotify, one of his songs that he has released is named “daydream.” 

“I enjoy making songs and releasing them, as it allows me to utilize my creativity more than ever,” Chopra said.

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