A hectic schedule ran off a couple hours of sleep making for a crammed five minutes of first period before the AP Bio test he forgot about, to Rho Kappa meetings; during the little bit of free time he had ended with a night, that wrapped up after the last email had to be sent at 3:00 a.m, here is a little insight into the life of junior Connor Darby on a random Thursday. Some students went to school with the intent of doing the bare minimum and getting a diploma, for Darby this was the polar opposite reality.
For Darby, every day had a packed schedule and led to the same routine before the next day began. From having walked to AP Biology and forgot to study for a summative test to the crammed couple of minutes spent napping during second period all before lunch spent at a Rho Kappa recap meeting and an evening of shelved books at the Debary library, he has had a tight schedule from the first day of school till the last. The day never ended after work, there was always more he had to do.
“I finish [my homework] around 1:30 a.m.,” Darby said, “and once I’ve gotten ready for bed I realize I forgot to follow up with some emails and messages and reply to a couple and by the time I’m all done with everything it’s a little after 2:30 a.m. and then I wake up at 6:00 a.m. the next day and do it all over again.”
With a lot on his plate, not every student would be willing to sacrifice weekends to build their portfolio of community service hours or get three hours of sleep so no project or email would go unnoticed. Darby felt that it was the time to seize every opportunity for what it was worth and soak up every second of being with friends and growing his academic accomplishment list.
“I’m trying really hard to be a part of as many things as I can because I think it’s important to take advantage of high school while I’m here,” Darby said. “In a couple of years, I won’t have the opportunity to be in a million and once clubs and see my friends every day, so I’m trying really hard to just take every opportunity I can and just really experience everything that I can while I have the chance.”
The factor of stress became prevalent early on in Darby’s academic career, but he did not let it stop him from excelling and expanding in what projects he had taken on. Being in several clubs such as Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, National Honors Society and internships such as the Launch FCU program on campus all while holding the rank of third in his class definitely had him stressed out constantly.
“I do think that doing all that does put a certain level of stress on my shoulders, but I genuinely do think that everything I do is worth it,” Darby said. “If I’m not interested or passionate about something I don’t like to spend my time doing it.”
Darby grabbed a hold of his future and forced it towards the path he wished, which is something not every student has been capable of doing. The app ‘RaiseMe’ is a tool he swore by for every year of high school, it was almost part of his identity since he had been using it for so long and had been referring it to many students along his journey of high school.
“I knew about [RaiseMe] going into freshmen year, so I’ve been able to put in my grades and stuff as I go which is so nice,” Darby said. “Knowing that Stetson will give me a minimum of $20,000 a year if I go there makes it so much easier to evaluate that school as a potential candidate for my college search when I compare it to Flagler where I’m only guaranteed $2,500 a year.”
With his future becoming a long-lasted reality, Darby sensed that his mother was not completely on board with the thought of a study abroad program. He loved to learn about different languages and diverse cultures, which is where the interest branched out of.
“I really want to apply to study abroad through the Rotary Youth Exchange program, it’s been my dream since I was in seventh grade to study abroad and I’m so excited that the opportunity is so close,” Darby said. “I think my mom doesn’t want me to, she knows I’m a smart kid and I think she wants me to go straight to college and she’s scared to send me overseas.”
Options were available for Darby, he knew he would have to begin the process of finding out if he would be accepted into the study abroad program, and then applying to schools who would accept a deference.
With an indefinite plan, Darby has worked every day as hard as he could to plan for his future. Struggles have been faced some days with a packed schedule from sun up to sun down, but this has not stopped him yet and it does not seem like it will any time soon.