Conquering time: a day in the life of Mikey Stefaniu


Everyday, sophomore Mikey Stefaniu conquers time. His workload may seem like too much to others, but on a consistent basis, he does everything to the best of his ability.

Adam Cupples, Staff Writer

 He’s in three AP classes, four Honors classes, and seven clubs. Balancing these commitments with athletics, volunteering, spending time with family and friends, and free time, it is evident that sophomore Mikey Stefaniu’s daily schedule is nothing to laugh about.

“Last year, I took a study hall and I took classes that didn’t really challenge me,” Mikey said. “I did well in them so I thought this year would be a good year to challenge myself among the other extracurriculars I have, so my parents urged me to take the three AP courses. At first, I thought it wasn’t a great idea because I was going to be swamped with homework, which I still am everyday, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it.”

Even though staying busy is something Mikey strives to accomplish in and out of school, he realizes that time management is vital to his academic success, especially with the number of difficult classes he is taking.

“I see that I have to really use my time wisely when I get home from school now, especially now that I’m in an off season from sports, so that I end up getting enough sleep to do it again the next day; however, I know [the heavy workload will be worth it],” Mikey said.

To get a clear picture of what a typical day for Mikey looks like, here is a typical school day, period by period.

7:15- Before School

“I usually am exhausted when I have to arrive at school early in the morning,” Mikey said. “To solve this], I’ll set my alarm exactly an hour and ten minutes before I have to be at school. That way, I can have that nasty wake-up at 6:10 am, and I can just hit the snooze button. I’ll be out of bed by 6:25, after getting that 10-15 minutes to tone my exhaustion down for the day.”

Even though Mikey says he does not initially enjoy waking up early in the morning, he acknowledges that he enjoys taking time out of his day to help with extracurricular activities.

“Anything that takes out of my time to help out in clubs, I’ll greatly do,” Mikey said, about his early morning Student Council meetings. “[For Charity Bash], we had one school day where we had to take a huge chunk of time out of our classes to help plan the event. This was a big planning commitment.”

7:55- 1st Period

Mikey talks with other students in health before the bell rings, but when it does he immediately takes his seat. Today’s PowerPoint on nutrition takes up most of the class period, and even though the PowerPoint may have seemed tedious and unnecessary to other students, Mikey’s attention toward the presentation never wavers as he continuously adds facts and information to his notes. Mikey receives 100 percent on a nutrition facts pop quiz, and at the end of class, he thanks Mr. Strickler before leaving.

8:44- 2nd Period

Right as the bell rings, Mikey is in his chair, waiting to receive instructions from his teacher about the listening assignment reflection the class is working on that day. When Mikey receives his feedback, he looks it over and asks why he got a certain grade instead of immediately dismissing the feedback as unnecessary.

“I think that Spanish has been a big step up from last year,” Mikey said. “I’ve taken Spanish since second grade, so I’ve grown pretty accustomed to it. I took Spanish II Honors going into freshman year, and I didn’t find it incredibly challenging. Señora Towne has been a great teacher because she always pushes her students and makes us use 100 percent Spanish throughout the class. I think it’s a step up from what I expected it to be, but I enjoy the challenge.”

9:33- 3rd Period

Today the “A Tale of Two Cities” unit begins. Mikey’s facial expressions never show any signs of boredom: they continuously show his eagerness to learn. After Mrs. Bajor finishes the background notes, Mikey volunteers to read parts of the first chapter out loud. This brings the period to a close, and once again, Mikey thanks his teacher before leaving the room.

“He has a great attitude, he always pays attention, and he works well in a group,” Bajor said. “He’s a very positive influence to the rest of the class. He participates, but moreso, he has great eye contact and you can always tell that he is engaged with what’s going on. He has a good work ethic and I forsee a lot of success for him in my class.”

10:22- 4th Period

AP Human Geography begins with Ms. McKendrick instructing the class where to move for their new seats, and Mikey acquaints himself with his new deskmates. As McKendrick starts a presentation, Mikey sits up straight with a grin on his face, acting very comfortable while he attentively takes notes. McKendrick transitions the class to small-group discussions, and Mikey engages himself with those near him.

“He participates on a daily basis, he answers the hard questions, and he always seems interested [in the topic at hand],” McKendrick said. “I think that he is motivated, interested, and willing to give hard material a try. I definitely believe that if you have a student who participates in class and is motivated to succeed, which is one of Mikey’s positive qualities, that diffuses to the rest of the class.”

11:11- 5th Period

As soon as he arrives in the lunchroom, Mikey takes out his lunch and talks with friends at his table. Their conversations vary in importance, but it is obvious that Mikey values this period to catch up with classmates, since his busy schedule usually does not allow for much free time during the day. Occasionally, Mikey will ask a question pertaining to schoolwork directed toward someone sitting at the table, but for most of the period, Mikey uses the time to recharge.

“I think lunch plays a big part [in helping me to stay motivated],” Mikey said. “Since it’s right in the middle of my day, I use lunch as a time to mentally transition between the two halves of my day and like I said, ‘If you prepare yourself for what’s coming up in the upcoming hours, you’ll be ready for it.’”

12:00- 6th Period

Mr. McCurley goes through the day’s notes, and Mikey asks and answers questions as they develop, most of which relate to the next day’s quiz.

“I remind myself that [taking tough classes now] will be a good investment for my future,” Mikey said. “I see some of my friends taking the same classes and I think, ‘Stick it through with them, It’s not going to hurt anyone to take up a heavy workload’. But you also have to know your capabilities so you don’t overwork yourself and you have to manage your time as well. If I can do that, I’ll stay motivated.”

12:49- 7th Period

Next on Mikey’s schedule is Honors Chemistry taught by Ms. Tollberg. Upon arriving, Tollberg mentions that today’s class will not feature much discussion among the students and that today’s lesson involves a lot of note-taking since it serves as an introduction to the next unit. Mikey’s body language suggests that he is fully immersed in what Tollberg teaches, as his eyes are focused on the whiteboard throughout the period.

“When you see the immediate benefits of your success in school, it builds the pathway to achieve success in the future,” Mikey said. “I feel that if you do things to the best of your abilities today, it’ll open up a wide range of opportunities for you to strive for in the future. That is my motivation because high school is a place to find what you love to do and what you’re good at. When I’m motivated by trying new things, it tells me what’s the best thing to build my life upon in the future.”

1:38- 8th Period

In Ms. Gyarmaty’s AP Environmental Science class, the class spends the day looking at their quarterly exam. When Mikey receives his test, he looks over his correct and incorrect answers before Gyarmaty goes over the free response answers. Mikey asks her questions that are more oriented toward his particular test after Gyarmaty is finished addressing the class.

“[I look] forward to [APES] because we’re undergoing a soil unit right now where [the class] is very hands-on with the materials,” Mikey said. “It’s interesting because you aren’t just learning concepts, but you’re actually applying these topics in real life. I’ve always loved getting my hands dirty for a little school assignment because it makes the concepts much more engaging for me.”

2:27- 9th Period

The last class of Mikey’s day is AP Computer Sciences with Ms. Heltzel, a course with a reputation of challenging students, however, the atmosphere in the classroom is very relaxed, and Mikey shows it by smiling as he listens to the Christmas music playing from a nearby phone. As Heltzel gives directions, he pays close attention to ensure he will be following the correct protocol. Mikey works hard throughout the period and finishes before the bell rings.

This class was the most difficult during 1st quarter, according to Mikey, as the information presented was entirely new to him.

“I’ve been putting a lot of effort into [the class], but it has been very challenging,” Mikey said. “Its just a whole new genre of information I’ve never experienced before. It definitely has been a bit of a struggle, but I believe that once I get used to it, I’ll be able to conceptualize it as well as I can.”

3:11- After School

“Towards the end of the day, I’m thinking about what my after school schedule looks like, what time I’ll be able to go to the gym, when I have to start my homework, planning out social events, among other things. Over the course of a school day, that’s usually what I’m thinking about.”

After the school day ends, Mikey works out, and then heads home to finish his homework, eat dinner, and hopefully find some free time. The next day, he does it all again. Same schedule, weekday after weekday. Even though this cycle may seem overwhelming to some, Mikey works through it with a smile, knowing that he has conquered time.