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Carry Your Day

Chelsea Sinclair

STEM and Public Policy Student

Talk about making the most of your college experience. A rising senior at Barnard, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior (with a minor in Science and Public Policy), Chelsea Sinclair already sounds like she has a full day. But between balancing coursework and conducting lab research, she is also the Student Representative to the Board of Trustees, and recently received the Millicent C. McIntosh Award, which honors a student each year who personifies the college’s commitment to the education of women and their influence throughout society. See how she gets it all done — and what she thinks the year ahead will bring.

8:00 AM

The first thing I always do is make a coffee — black, or if I'm at the deli, I order it with oat milk and one sugar. If I'm home, I make a cafecito. I turn on a podcast and drink my coffee and review what I have to do for the day. I also continue my podcasts and switch between those and all my Spotify playlists. I listen to a lot of Hidden Brain, Economist Radio, The Dig. I like to get updated, and I choose whichever catches my attention that day. Then I pack my bag for the day and make sure I have everything I need, and I don't have to run back home. My go-to is my Metro Backpack — I have never had a more useful bag in my life. All the pockets are in just the right places, and it's water-resistant. I never worry about my things, not fitting. Anything I toss into my bag, I know it will be ok.

10:30 AM

On my walk to class, I have to switch over to music. Music is such an essential part of my day – it keeps me in the zone. I have playlists for every occasion, feeling, setting. The mood I try to capture for the morning is to feel happy and confident to take on the day with positivity. I try to keep my classes all in the morning — this fall semester, I'm focusing on finishing my minor Science and Public Policy. So I will be taking courses in that department, some that interest me, as well as writing my thesis.

3:00 PM

Do I stop for lunch? It depends on the day. I'm more of a big-breakfast-snack-for-lunch-big-healthy-dinner kind of person, so after class, I'll stop in our dining hall and pick up to-go sushi or a cup of tea and yogurt on my way to the library, where I'll be until dinner time. I love the libraries, I feel like being around other people being productive, and in a setting designed for productivity, I get to focus. Some of our library's architecture reminds me of Harry Potter! It's beautiful, and being in the space helps me focus.

7:00 PM

After the library, I take a little break for dinner, and then I usually have several club meetings — I love this part of my day. I have been on student government since my freshman year — I'm currently the Student Representative to the Board of Trustees. I'm also in a coed fraternity on campus, and I've been pretty involved in that recently. I also babysit and tutor in the evenings sometimes. Freshman and sophomore year, I also had a show on our college radio station WBAR, I played mostly dancehall, reggae, and reggaeton. My family is from Jamaica, so I had fun sharing our music with my listeners and connecting with my Caribbean heritage.

11:30 PM

I'm planning on getting a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. I want to research feel-good hormones and their effects as they pertain to the reward processing system and sexual selection, which is what I currently do. I work with fruit flies in an Evolution and Sexual Selection lab. My research focus is on mating duration as a mechanism of postcopulatory sexual selection. I am in the lab in a few hours each day — we work on the fruit fly life cycle, so I plan my life around those tiny things, and sometimes that means being in the lab from 11 PM to 1 AM. I love doing research and working on a team, it's what inspired me to pursue a Ph.D., so I'm very grateful for it.
My go-to is my Top Handle Backpack — I have never had a more useful bag in my life. All the pockets are in just the right places, and it’s water resistant. Anything I toss into my bag, I know that it will be ok.

12:00 AM

If I'm not in the lab, after my club meetings, I'll head to the library until around midnight. I spend so much time there; it makes me think about how this year is going to be different. I'm working on making my apartment space as comfortable and as conducive to studying as possible. Yet, so much of my college experience has been about community, the people and organizations I've grown to love. I will still have that in some capacity, but it just won't be the same as if we were in a room together. I do think, though, that it's my responsibility to sacrifice some of those things that I love to respect the health of our community and the residents of New York state. I'm not entirely sure how the school year will look like, but I have high hopes, and I am excited to see how I will close this chapter of my life.