A day in the life of a Dougherty student

4:45 a.m. Wake up for morning practice. Grind never stops. 

7:00 a.m. Go home, exhausted after an intense practice, while you eat your College Board-subsidized cereal. Before you leave, you stand in front of your bookshelf and pray to your Princeton Review Prep Book gods for an A on your AP Bio FRQ.

8:30 a.m. AP Lit. It’s the day of the timed write and you barely prepared. You skimmed through “Heart of Darkness” (thank you Sparknotes) and you still have no idea what’s happening even though you’ve been talking about the book for the past two weeks. Before you know it, the timer goes off. You know you’ll probably get a two despite putting your blood, sweat, and tears into the essay — quite literally since your pen ran out of ink — yet you have nothing to do except turn it in and perhaps save some of the blood to sacrifice to the College Board tonight.

9:31 a.m. You don’t know what happened this period since you fell asleep two seconds after you sat down.

10:25 a.m. The bell finally rings and wakes you up; it’s brunch. Your friends discreetly (you never know when College Board is watching) meet up in the bathroom with a stick and poke kit, so you can get the answers to the upcoming test tattooed on your ankle.

10:45 a.m. You spend the entire period taking Buzzfeed quizzes — the only quizzes you can confidently pass. And as it turns out, you are banana bread, will get married when you turn 23, die when you’re 19 and are the Janice from “Friends” in every relationship.

11:44 a.m. You spend the entire period stalking College Board members on all forms of platform. You try to use the information you find to subliminally convince them to give you perfect scores on all your standardized test. You try to find their addresses so you can send them a bouquet of flowers, a fruit basket, or maybe even your soul for that perfect 1600 (or 36). 

12:39 p.m. It’s now lunch and you finally get a chance to see your friends after a long, studious morning. You guys pick a game to play to pass the time and it so happens to be the dirtiest game you guys know: Paranoia. “Who’s most likely to get a zero on the AP Psych exam?” “Who is most likely to reincarnate as the next Salman Khan?” It’s intense and the only way to get your mind off of the impending doom you’re about to see from the AP Bio FRQ. 

1:13 p.m. The bell rings, signaling the start of fifth period … and then it’s all over. Your one shot to boost your grade before the final. You spend the remainder of class arguing with your AP Bio lab group on the correct answer for part 2b, realizing with a sinking dread that your answer is different from theirs. If you don’t get a perfect score, you will be sacrificed by your group of 5.8 GPA friends to the College Board. 

2:12 p.m. Finally, it’s sixth period and your school day is almost over. You breeze through AP Computer Science because you’ve been coding since you were four. Something to mention on your college apps.

3:06 p.m. School is now officially over and you can go to your debate meeting. You text your captain that you have a dentist appointment and that you’re sorry to have to miss the meeting. Meanwhile, you tell the math club president that you can’t go to the meeting because of an eye appointment. After missing all of your meetings, you are free to go home and chill until 10 p.m., when you finally start your homework. 

4 p.m. Pull out your cold lunch from your backpack, lean back and try to shovel the slimy asparagus down your throat. You feel sick to your stomach as the asparagus slides slowly, down your throat. You resist the urge to gag and stand up to throw the food out, but right then, your mom walks through the front door, eyebrows raised. “What do you think you’re doing? Think about all of the people who have to survive on rice and cabbages, or even no food at all.” 

6:30 p.m. Sneak out of the house to pace outside of Elite Prep, hoping to find another high school senior applying to college. Corner one by the entrance and propose marriage. You explain that a shotgun wedding would be the best option for you two since you both would get financial compensation on your FAFSA applications. They reject you. At least it wasn’t a college that rejected you, right? 

7 p.m. Drown out your mother’s calls for dinner with Joji on your airpods. No more asparagus. 

8 p.m. Rant about your love life to the FBI man watching through the Macbook camera because therapy is expensive. 

10 p.m. Start your homework.

10:05 p.m. Text the group chat for AP Chem answers, offering John Greenbacks in exchange. They decline the offer and you are left to fend for yourself. You feel hopeless

10:10 p.m. Tiptoe downstairs to retrieve your dad’s credit card. Create a Chegg account and copy the chemistry homework. Forget to set a reminder to cancel the membership after a month. Accidentally let Chegg charge your dad $10 a month for the rest of his life. Drain his retirement fund.

10:45 p.m. Listen to Joji again while you work on your debate case. And then DECA. And then FBLA. And MUN. And then the four human interest clubs that you’re president of. 

1 a.m. Remember that you have classes besides AP Chem. Wipe away the tears and snot with your RUSH worksheet. Convince yourself that you can still get an A in AP Lit even if you don’t do the homework now. You desperately rub your desk lamp, trying to summon Sal Khan to work on your AP Calc BC homework and bow down to pray that Adam Norris and John Green descend from College Board heaven to finish your RUSH and AP Lit homework.

1:20 a.m. Do the AP Lit homework. 

2:00 a.m. Make a cup of coffee. Pose with the coffee cup and your laptop. Post your Snapchat story with the time stamp and the caption “the grind never ends.” Throw out coffee, drink 10 Red Bulls, and continue to work but Khan’s soothing voice lulls you to sleep. Before you turn the lights out, you set your alarm for 4:45 a.m.