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She runs through the long list of things to do in her mind, mulling over the many homework assignments, practices, and college applications that are looming above her head. As the hot tingle of worry creeps up the back of her neck, she catches it by reminding herself of a bright future so close she can almost taste it.


Senior Kelly Wong participates in as many school activities as possible to pave a path to her hope of attending John Hopkins and becoming an OB-GYN. Stress is inevitable as Kelly juggles 5 AP classes along with French VI, cheer-leading, track, mock trial, and debate. As she approaches semester 1 finals, Kelly knows that only hard work will pay off.


“In stressful situations with large workloads, I start grouping, organizing, and just block out everything else and work until it’s all done, even if that’s not until 6 AM the next morning” Kelly said.


In order to better her chances of attending a good med school, Kelly volunteers at the children’s hospital a couple times a week. Most of her activities and all of her classes are centered around becoming an OB-GYN. She has taken two science classes a year since her sophomore year.


“[Kelly] is determined to accomplish her career goal, and her motivation to excel in school centers on her determination to succeed on the path to her future career,” Kelly’s mom, Serene Wong said.


Kelly’s grades stand out among her class with a 4.168 grade point average and an outstanding score of a 33 on her ACT. Although she may make her grades and classes look easy as she passes with flying colors, Kelly has had to make a few sacrifices to reach her end goal of being a doctor. Namely dropping out of show choir in favor of chemistry.


“I was sad, as I’ve been part of the program since freshman year, but my parents did make a good point that [the possibility of] failing freshman year chemistry [in college] was scarier than losing show choir,” Kelly said.

Part of her motivation is triggered by the pressure to make her parents proud. Kelly knows nothing worse than the disappointment of her parents and nothing better than their pride.


“Her father and I try to influence her more by praising her when she does well and sitting down and talking to her when she isn’t doing as well. We used to be stricter about punishment when she did poorly, but as she’s grown, she takes our pride in her as her main influence I would think,” Serene said.


All of the late nights studying for tests, the scrambling to perfect papers and homework assignments, and the long hours of school are not just to impress her parents, however. Kelly wants to be proud of her work in high school and her commitment to her future. While other students take luxury in study halls, Kelly squeezes in one more course to her busy schedule.


“I take some pride in the fact that I haven’t dropped dead yet, even without a study hall,” Kelly said.


Each day when the clock strikes 3:20, Kelly fights against the wave of high schoolers rushing to their cars, and rushes to her next activity; either cheerleading, track, mock trial, or debate. Her determination shines through as she crams page after page of notes and facts into her brain, pushing past her droopy lids and inviting bed to insure an outstanding score on her test the next day.


“Kelly is very determined. She tries her hardest in everything she does and always finishes what she starts,” Serene said.


As the stress load increases with each year, Kelly stays positive and carefully plans everything out to ensure finishing everything on time and to the best of her ability. She makes it her goal to finish high school with a bang.


“I just want to look back at high school at the end of senior year and be able to say that I did good my last four years,” Kelly said.