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A Day in the Life - Samantha Cueto

Samantha joined Penn Nursing’s BSN program remotely this past fall from her hometown of Union City, New Jersey. Before coming to campus in January, she lived with her parents, younger brother and sister, Abuela, and three huge Labrador Retrievers. While she may not have been on campus, she found plenty of ways to stay busy and engaged!

7:30 AM

Ignore my blaring alarms for the fifth time before I finally decide to stop pressing snooze and hoist myself out of bed! I’m very much attached to my bed, but I also know I have a full schedule of activities today.

8:00 AM

Make myself a quick breakfast by scrambling some eggs with goat cheese, tomatoes, and chives. My mom always jokes that I’m the one who eats all of the eggs in this house.

8:30 AM

Call my workout buddy, and we both set ourselves up for the home workout routine we’ve established together. Our favorite YouTuber, Emi Wong, always posts month-long regimented challenges, which has given us such fast results with our bodies.

Healthy body, healthy mind.

9:30 AM

Quickly shower, replacing my workout clothes with a casual outfit suitable for class. My curly hair isn’t too unruly, so I clip some of it back.

10:00 AM

Attend a virtual Zoom lecture by Dr. Johnson for my nursing course, NURS061-Integrated Cell Biology & Microbiology. I use my iPad to take down important highlights through a notes app called Notability. Luckily, this app also allows me to download a PDF of the case study we’re doing today and highlight as Dr. Sernekos goes through the slides.

11:00 AM

Once my lecture ends, I quickly log into my recitation for RELS079-Religion of Anime. It’s an extremely interesting course with a low amount of work each week, which allows me more time to tackle my other courses. It not only fills out a sector requirement for my BSN, but also can be triple counted for the Global Health and Japanese minor which I’m planning to pursue!

12:00 PM

As recitation usually ends 10 minutes early, I have enough time to log into Zoom for the monthly Penn Nursing Wellness Advisory Board meetings. Ms. Xu greets me with an enthusiastic smile, and I can’t help but feel a surge of comfort just from logging into the meeting. I genuinely enjoy these monthly meetings where I get to discuss how we might improve the wellbeing of the Penn Nursing community. Today, we talked about different ways we can engage with students remotely by creating an anonymous Google form titled “Dear Florence.” Named after Florence Nightingale, students respond to the form with general worries for the semester, advice on how to resolve feelings of isolation, and other miscellaneous topics. I volunteered along with other members of the board to be respondents of the form, depending on what type of help students need.

1:00 PM

Take a break from being on my laptop (for the past three consecutive hours!) and eat some lunch. I get excited when I remember that my mom ordered me a poke bowl today, topped with mango and salmon. I scarf it down way too quickly!

1:30 PM

Start my Japanese homework, which gives additional asynchronous work every Friday. It’s a bit tough, but I complete the worksheet within an hour and a half. Since I’m a beginner in Japanese, it was initially difficult to wrap my head around a characterbased language. Now, I have the hang of it and can write full sentences in Japanese characters!

3:00 PM

Turn my laptop back on and log into Slack to click on the Zoom link for my work-study job. I’m a GEAR UP coach, a program affiliated with the Netter Center, and tutor Philly high schoolers in biology and chemistry. I’m grateful that my two required nursing courses for the semester were Microbiology and Biologically-Based Chemistry, since they both serve as refreshers for the topics these students are currently learning. The other coaches are quite conversational and a friendly group to speak with! If I finish helping them before the after-school direct service ends, we return from the breakout room and give them general tips for college.

6:00 PM

Log back out and take another break from my laptop. I check what’s in the fridge and grab dinner in the form of a burrito bowl that my mom bought yesterday. This time, I try not to inhale my meal and take my time, while also listening to some music my friends sent me.

7:00 PM

Change into pajamas and call nursing friends from my cohort. I’m glad to have found a virtual study group for the fall, through Penn’s Pre-Freshman Program during the summer. We review the Microbiology material for the week, especially since there’s an influx of information to keep up with that’s released every Wednesday. We also joke around with each other and take breaks talking. These calls make me feel, in some part, more capable of handling the intense workload!

9:00 PM

Review the most difficult Biochemistry lectures for the upcoming exam next week. For me, creating flash cards works well to facilitate the memorizing process. I don’t spend too much time studying, since the material is not as dense as Microbiology’s.

Flashcards for the win!

9:30 PM

Look over the letter I had written yesterday for my assigned buddy in Alzheimer’s Buddies, a Penn club where I am able to converse with elderly patients in a nursing home who have Alzheimer’s Disease. During the pandemic, we have been engaging with them virtually over Zoom, but this is a special assignment where I must write my buddy a casual Christmas letter. Once I’ve checked the grammar, I email my letter to the club leaders.

10:00 PM

Head to my bedroom and check to see if my little sister is awake. Thankfully, she’s up for a round of Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. We very easily get carried away and play several more rounds than originally intended. 12:00 A.M. Finally turn off the game and quickly perform my nightly routine before going to sleep. I’m planning to wake up at 9 a.m. tomorrow to get more assignments in!