20 Questions for Top of the 2020: Hasan Mirza heads for pre-med track at UCLA

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"It’s not cool to be sleep deprived!" says senior Hasan Mirza, one of the 12 valedictorians for the Class of 2020. Image posted with permission from Hasan Mirza.

Megan Shin

In lieu of our senior print issue, The Accolade has decided to conduct a Q and A with each of the 12 valedictorians for online posting.

Question #1: What are your plans after high school?

Answer: I’m going to attend UCLA and study molecular biology on the pre-med track.

Question #2: Which extracurricular activities and clubs have you been a part of?

A: Cross country, track, Fun Run Club.

Question #3: How do you feel as one of the 12 valedictorians?

A: I’m really glad to see 4 years of hard work pay off and to be able to end my high school career on such a high note.

Question #4: How do you feel about the second semester of our senior year and graduation being canceled?

A: I’m definitely really sad to miss out on senior traditions that we have seen our friends experience in the years before us. I’m definitely ready for new experiences, but it is kind of sad to see high school end in such a casual and unceremonious way, especially compared to how we all pictured this year ending.

Question #5: What or who motivated you the most during high school? and why?

A: Being around so many smart and talented friends helped me want to try my best relatively, athletically, and in my classes as well, and I am incredibly grateful for all of them. I was also motivated by my mom and grandparents who focused on supporting me in pursuing my goals rather than trying to push me to my limits. 

Question #6: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: In 10 years I hope to be working as a medical professional. I’m not exactly sure what area of medicine I want to specialize in, but it’s always been a dream of mine to call myself a doctor and I’m super excited to pursue that goal.

Question #7: What was the most challenging in the four years of high school?

A: I have two struggles that were really challenging for me throughout the four years. Finding a balance between my physical ability and my passion for my sport was really difficult. I had to deal with several injuries that put me out for some time and two season ending fractures that were huge obstacles in my running career. The other struggle was finding a balance between relaxing and working when it was increasingly easy to procrastinate and avoid responsibility.

Question #8: Which class was the most threatening to your valedictorian status?

A: English was kind of tough because I’m much more comfortable with at home essays, and in-class essays are often hit or miss. That combined with my first semester grade this year depending on a final exam in the form of an in class essay, which was graded at the last minute, made for a very stressful winter break.

Question #9: What has been the highlight of high school?

A: I love those spontaneous late night adventures where my friends and I just can’t stop laughing, and I’m really sad that we can’t get out of the house and do some exploring.

Question #10: Describe your high school experience in three words

A: So many memes

Question #1: Complete the sentence: “I will always remember …”

A: Discovering my newfound addiction to basketball while procrastinating senior year.

Question #12: What was your favorite class?

A: I would have to say my most interesting class was AP Chemistry because even though it was hard, it was really interesting. The labs were fun, and Mr. Colomac was a really fun teacher.

Question #13: What will you miss most after you graduate?

A: I will really miss being in a competitive sport. I’m not sure what college and life after that will have in store for me, but being on a team like this was a really special experience.

Question #14: Did you have senioritis?

A: I had major burnout junior year, but I definitely experienced some crazy senioritis this year.

Question #15: What is your greatest achievement during high school?

A: One of my proudest achievements was breaking five minutes in the mile at the end of junior year track season after coming off an injury that put me out for several months.

Question #16: How have you changed since freshman year?

A: I’m much more open to stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things/meet new people.

Question #17: Out of your four years in high school, which one was your favorite and why?

A: I definitely have a lot of nostalgia about freshman year, but junior year was probably my favorite. It really surprised me because I heard horror stories about junior year, but I learned a lot about the importance of having a fun time alongside studying that year and it definitely changed my perspective.

Question #18: Can you give me a senior quote?

A: “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Question #19: Can you share some words of advice for juniors and underclassmen?

A: It’s not cool to be sleep deprived! Instead of bragging about how much sleep you didn’t get, brag about how much sleep you did get.

Question #20: Would you like to thank anyone? Do you have any final words?

A: I want to thank my mom for putting up with me and my teachers for not getting too mad when I slacked off in their classes.