I’m always curious about the day to day routines of impressive people. So when I met Jessica Metzger – 17 year-old STEM rockstar (pun intended, keep reading and you’ll see what I mean) – I knew immediately that I wanted to do a day-in-the life post about her. So, without further ado, here it is!
Rise and shine, a quick breakfast, and off to school.
Classes begin at Timber Creek High School in Orlando, FL. Jessica takes 5 AP classes (calc and physics being her favs) along with orchestra and latin to round things out.
Time for meetings. Jessica is involved in several STEM-related clubs and honor societies and meets with usually one a day. Most exciting these days are preparations for the Science Olympiad state competition. Jessica and her teammates are competing in the “Game On” event where they build a game in a single day with MIT Media Lab’s Scratch programming languageWish them luck!
Coffee!!! A delightful part of Jessica’s day where she indulges in a Cuban Roast from Wawa.
Time for Jessica’s after school job, but this is not your standard after-school gig. Jessica works at the Center for Microgravity research at nearby University of Central Florida.
Jessica’s work focuses on the dataset obtained from the NanoRocks experiment. NanoRocks is an experiment that took place on the International Space Station to study how tiny particles collide in microgravity environments. Jessica has written software using IDL (a data analysis programming language that she taught herself, TAUGHT HERSELF!!) that automates the tracking of the particles. This allows Jessica and her colleagues to study how speed and particle properties (density, size, structure, what have you) affect the coefficient of restitution (don’t be embarrassed, I had to look it up too).
The relevance of this work? It will help us understand how planets form and ultimately how we all got here. NBD. Her work also contributes to a paper that she and her colleagues from the lab will present at the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers Earth & Space conference.
Time to head home. Jessica uses her drive home as a chance to unwind and listen to music. Fall Out Boy’s older stuff is among Jessica’s current favorites and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” is the song she’s loving now.
Time for homework. Remember, she’s in high school and has 5 AP to deal with.
Advice from Jessica about staying organized
Write yourself a note to help you get started the next day
As you are wrapping up your work write a note to yourself about where to start when you get back to work. Jessica does this with her lab planner, where she keeps track of what she accomplished on a given day and the tasks she should start with next.
Think through the next day before you turn in
At the end of the day take a moment to think through the next day – what’s due, who you’ll be meeting with, places you’ll be going, etc. This quick mental run-through helps Jessica hit the ground running each morning and be ready for the day ahead.
Develop a system and stick to it
The best system for keeping track of your schedule is whatever system you will use consistently. In Jessica’s case it’s a combo of her iPhone calendar and her planner. It does not have to be fancy, just find something and stick to it.