Coppell High School senior Tanay Sethia is ranked No. 8 in the graduating class of 2020. Sethia will be attending the University of Texas at Austin for the Canfield Business Honors Program.
What has your academic experience in high school been like overall?
I guess it’s no different than any other person’s [experience]. Lots of homework, sometimes classes that you’re really interested in, other times classes that are quite boring but you push through anyway. I played tennis throughout all of high school so it was a little extra to manage, but all in all, just a normal experience, really.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of people in the top 10?
The elephant in the room is that everyone in the top 10 cheats, but that’s not the case. Other than that, the other misconception is that we study a lot. What I always tell people is that it’s about studying effectively. I’ve gotten through high school with my eight hours of sleep almost every single day. It’s just about time management, which is an important skill regardless of whether it’s for school or anything else.
What tips do you have for students looking to be academically accomplished?
What’s always worked for me is that, you notice the irony of when people say ‘Hey, I studied for five or six hours!’, when you really just want to be time effective. You want to sit down, no distractions, for maybe 30 minutes, and really focus and study smart. Because it’s not about the volume of time that you’re putting in, but the quality of time.
What de-stressing methods have you used throughout high school?
My biggest passion at heart is playing tennis, so I’m lucky enough to have had double-blocked tennis throughout high school. So that’s an hour and a half, every single day, where I can just relax and get things off my mind, then get back to school.
What are some tips for staying motivated?
This is a bit cliche, but you learn to fall in love with the process. For example, you’re coming back from summer break, and may doubt, ‘Am I smart? Am I really good at things or have I lost my touch?’. That whole idea of building your self-confidence again is a way to stay motivated. Developing yourself through another medium, like some people do through music, shows academics is just another way to grow as a person. So that makes it a lifelong pursuit.
How do you plan to continue your academic journey in college?
Obviously that standard of excellence is something I strive to meet and maintain in college as well. It’s important for me to come to terms to, and everyone else, that when you step into college, there are many more dimensions than grades and a few extracurricular activities. You have to embrace that process of becoming an adult. Academics are a huge priority, but there is so much more to focus on. I’d have to learn to manage both.
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