One-Twelfth of 2022

Fatima Khawaja
4 min readFeb 13, 2022

This past month has been a whirlwind of balancing academics, sports, nonprofits, side projects, and family. With every whirlwind, decision-making and contemplation are inevitable. Through costly experiences and epiphanies, a reflection on January 2022 must be presented.

Table of Contents

  1. Hackathon
  2. School
  3. Voting Pre-Registration Event
  4. Sports
  5. Food for Thought
  6. Miscellaneous


This past weekend, my team and I developed an idea constituting the overexpression of the CIA-5 gene in microalgae to sequester more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reverse the effects of carbon emissions and global warming. Our respective areas of strength were in synthetic biology and carbon capture technology (CCT). It was a great learning opportunity and collaboration effort with my teammates Nithi, Alexandre, Prab, and Ayaan. Check out our pitch below.


Since winter break ended, the second semester has been moving at an accelerated pace. It almost seems as though the past month has been a blur with each day melting into the next. The workload seems to have progressed, tests and quizzes have become more frequent, class policies have tightened, and peers generally seem more rushed. Although three semesters of high school are behind me, I still feel as though I’m living in a distant reality. Nonetheless, I’m very satisfied with my performance in each of my classes and grateful for the investment of each of my teachers into my peers and me.

Pre-registration for junior year is right around the corner and I have yet to decide whether a full course load of AP classes is more advantageous than a relatively relaxed schedule. That’ll definitely be a point of pondering during the next few weeks.

Voting Pre-Registration Event

The voting pre-registration event occurs every two years at James Logan High School to pre-register juniors and seniors so they’re eligible to participate in the election once they’re 18. This year, as a sophomore, I assumed the position of the main leader, coordinated with the principal and activity director, composed a team of student leaders, went through the training process, helped set up the tech for the event, and guided the students through their affidavits.

When the event occurred in 2020, 800 students had pre-registered. This year, however, we achieved a record of pre-registering 910 students!


I simply can’t study without sports practice. Either I get extremely jittery or I feel unsettled without a way to expend my energy. Though sports provide that outlet for me, they can be demanding with their long hours and rigor.

I’m currently a varsity crew and badminton athlete, totaling 10 practices a week (22+ hours). Both of these sports, if you're unfamiliar, require tons of conditioning (aerobic and anaerobic exercises) aside from their mainstream activities (rowing a boat and playing badminton). Thus, there are multiple moments a week when giving up seems like the best option, but truly isn’t so.

However tiring sports may appear, they push for my success in other divisions of life and contribute to much of my success. Particularly this month, badminton conditioning and tryouts really stretched me thin and left me nervous about the selection of the varsity team (which I luckily achieved). Although my legs ache and my hands aren’t in the best condition, sports surely make me whole.

Food for Thought

How do we elevate the prestige of teaching?

Teachers make the difference between bright students and students that lack motivation. If society respected the teaching profession and raised their salaries, would more students develop a passion for learning?

Why does society enable you to destroy yourself?

With tobacco products scaling every retail location and age requirements overlooked, a great number of people in society are almost encouraged to destruct themselves by ingesting these products with no set limitations. Where do we draw the line between freedom and destruction?

How do people raised in the same household end up so different?

This question will forever be a mystery.


  • Current book: Principles by Ray Dalio
  • Most used app: Locket
  • Average daily screen time: 3 1/2 hours



Fatima Khawaja

Exploring the many domains in life. Student, writer, scientist, explorer.