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One of the best parts of my day is running. My apartment is in the middle of a large industrial area, but there is a small river nearby. I run along the side of it, and the tall buildings slowly fade away. After about 3 miles, I’m running through markets, which become more and more sparse until I’m jogging among rice farms. I can often see big birds and fish jumping out of the water. There’s a goat who I encounter so often I’ve named it— and now I say hello to Aneesha the goat whenever I pass by. I’m on the cross country and track teams at my school, but I only really just got into running for real. Our coaches sent us a workout routine which consists of pushups, cycling, running. But the reason I like it is because I can get out of the hustle and industry of the city and see nature. It’s very peaceful, compared to the hecticness of the city.

In my free time, though, I’m also tutoring computer science and competition math. Currently I’m working with four younger kids, and even though I’ve never done anything like it before, it’s fun! I get to meet new people, and I’m always a little anxious for the first session, but after getting to know them it's good. It adds a little bit of spice to quarantine life. In the beginning, I wasn’t super sure about how to teach, but I tried to use examples and pictures to explain things. The kids were super smart and fast learners. However, one thing that is difficult, is figuring out whether or not they really understand and if I need to go over concepts again. It definitely makes me feel like I understand our teachers more and the difficulties they go through.

One of my professors from John Hopkins actually recommended me for a project I’ve been working on. It’s math research, with his (mostly junior and senior) undergrad students. It’s based on networks, such as neural networks or social networks, and graph theory. I’ve learned how to read published papers, which was a struggle in the beginning when I didn’t have experience with anything like it. The crux of my research is on networks with many connections, and trying to use these connections to map and match graphs in a way that correlates with the data in its natural alignment. It’s very interesting, and provides an intellectual challenge to prevent me from stagnating in these times. I’m also trying to plan for my future, so finding research that I would like to continue doing is definitely helpful. Right now, I’m seeing the gold lining: taking the time to focus on myself and pursue things that I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have the time or opportunity to.

—Nelson



Written by: Michelle Zimmermann

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