A Profile on Yu Wang ’23, Adept at Balancing Multiple Activities

Bronx Science student Yu Wang ’23 channels her passions and interests into her extracurriculars through a balanced mindset.

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Kristen Li

“I think, ultimately, the reason why I am able to balance everything I do is because of a really strong support system, and a passion for excelling,” said Yu Wang ’23.

She ran through the halls of Bronx Science with urgency. She turned the corner and finally reached the room. She made sure to adjust her clothes and take a deep breath. With a confident demeanor, Bronx Science junior Yu Wang ’23 walked into her Model UN interview wearing her badminton uniform. On the day of her interview, Wang also had her playoffs for badminton. Running to the interview room the second the game ended, Wang knew that she would be showing up with her sports uniform with sweat dripping down her face. But, despite the circumstances, her confidence and perseverance allowed her to strive and achieve the position she was hoping for. 

Yu Wang is a junior at Bronx Science who balances multiple different activities throughout her week. From Model UN to being on the badminton team, she is able to do it all even when time is limited. Wang also takes challenging courses that allow her to soar in her academics. From AP Psychology to A.P. U.S. history, she is able to prioritize her school work while juggling her outside activities. Despite her busy schedule, she always finds time in her day to fit in a drawing session where she is able to channel her passion for art. 

However, Wang did not start off with the idea of joining this many extracurricular activities. In fact, she was more focused on adjusting to a new environment when she moved to the United States. Born in China and immigrating to the United States, Wang and her family were focused on the ability to reach the so-called “American Dream.” Wang’s parents were not able to have an education, which prompted them to set an expectation and a large emphasis on her academics. Even though her parents were strict regarding her grades in school and raised the pressure on her, it motivated Wang to try harder and to step out of her comfort zone. She believes that her experiences as a first generation immigrant allowed her to strive for the top. 

Although her family pushed her to excel in her academics, they were also the reason why she wanted to branch off into her extracurriculars. When Wang’s grandma first came to America, Wang thought that their language barrier wouldn’t allow her to have a relationship with her grandma, so she gave up on the idea of having one. Then one day, her grandma approached Wang in her room with two badminton rackets. “Come rain or shine, she would come to my room at noon with the rackets, and we would go play in the backyard, despite the fact that I had the hand eye coordination of an overexcited toddler. Now, badminton is one of my extracurriculars that I put the most time and effort into. For me, it’s a sport that holds a lot of important memories and cultural significance. Despite my grandma not being in America anymore, I just know she would be proud of me and how far I’ve come, especially after our Bronx Science team just won silver overall in New York City!” said Wang.

Wang’s older sister is someone she found inspiration in when exploring her hobby of art. As a little kid, Wang would sneak into her sister’s sketchbooks and admire her sister’s creations. Despite their differences, Wang sees art as a connection between her and her sister which is why she holds this hobby so close to her heart. Through the inspiration from her sister who graduated from Pratt Institute as a graphic designer, Wang was able to use her artistic skills and have a piece of her work featured in the MET as part of the scholastic program.

Now you may be wondering, how does she manage and balance everything? Well, Wang expresses that she feels as if the universe sometimes works against her when all of her extracurricular events happen at the same time as her academic events. She recalls that one of her most stressful experiences this year was when Advance Placement exams coincided with her badminton playoff week. Wang was met with extreme time limitations and was left with having to figure out a way to balance both things at once. So, she would go to her badminton games after school and race to a café after the games to study until late at night. During situations like this, Wang reflects on the different levels of priorities she needs to exert onto her commitments. “As someone who always sees Yu studying during lunch, I can say that she is truly a dedicated student who utilizes her time wisely. Sometimes, I only see Yu come to the cafeteria for a couple minutes to eat before she rushes to the library to get her work done. To me, this is very admirable as she knows when to prioritize her academics and when to prioritize her extracurriculars,” said Kristen Li ’23.

Wang makes sure to highlight her priorities based on time availability and personal values. During the A.P. exam weeks in May 2022, Wang made sure to communicate with her badminton captain so that she could prioritize her academics and study instead of staying for practices. She was able to realize the importance of her exams during this time as she could practice badminton any other day but could only study that week. “Sometimes it’s difficult to make these decisions because I fear looking uncommitted, lazy, or selfish. This is a sentiment I see a lot in our school, especially because of the competitive nature; everyone is afraid to take a break because it feels like you’ll lose your footing when you come back. But to me, putting myself first is more important than any grade or first prize trophy because despite how everyone else will think about me, I’m the only one who has to live in my shoes and deal with my decisions. Don’t ever feel afraid to prioritize either one over another!” said Wang. 

If there is one piece of advice Wang could give to other Bronx Science students about balancing everything, it would be to do what you are interested in. She strongly believes that there is no point in pursuing classes or extracurriculars that you don’t like just for social validation or to polish a college résumé. In her eyes, the passion and want to balance everything is lost once you do things that won’t benefit your interests. “It is easier for me to balance Model UN, Badminton, accelerated classes, and all of my hobbies because I love researching, debating, going to training, and occasionally, winning. If I had to do something I dislike, I imagine I would have a much more difficult time because I would subconsciously rank it lower than my other priorities, and then that neglect would cause me to struggle.”

Wang also believes that the key to balance is reaching out for help, even when you don’t think you need it. When she tried to struggle through everything independently, it made her dislike things she loved, and as a byproduct, herself. However, she was able to grow from her experiences and realize that having guidance and support was the right amount of balance between herself and her hardships. “I know it sometimes feels like if you make it through this final stretch, you’ll be okay and so you should just suck it up and deal with it. But it’s okay to put that one project on the backburner, or request to transfer to a regular class. As long as you know who you are, what you love to do, and your values, it’s alright to take a break.” 

Next year as a senior, Wang will be on the board of Model UN as a Crisis Assist alongside her plan to run for the captain position on the Badminton team. Currently, she is planning on pursuing a higher education in the future with a goal of getting into Law school after college. When asked about where she sees herself in ten years, she answered that she definitely sees herself adopting a few (maybe ten) cats through the course of her life. She also expresses that her future vision is not set in stone but that her values she grew up with will continue growing with her. “I am not 100% confident that the person I am now will align with the person I am in a few years or so, when I do actually start choosing a career. But no matter what I plan on doing in the future, I know that I will still have the same values that were instilled in me by the people I grew up with, and so I see myself successful and happy.”  

“It is easier for me to balance Model UN, Badminton, accelerated classes, and all of my hobbies because I love researching, debating, going to training, and occasionally, winning. If I had to do something I dislike, I imagine I would have a much more difficult time because I would subconsciously rank it lower than my other priorities, and then that neglect would cause me to struggle,” said Yu Wang ’23.