Olivia Barnes (blacklifeblueworld.wixsite.com/blbwofficialwebsite) has always had a somewhat unconventional education, but after a frustrating year at a well-regarded performing arts school, she decided to take the reins of her education. We discuss Olivia’s decision to spend her 10th grade year doing a hodgepodge of activities she called “self-design school”—including biology classes at a local university, online math, Spanish tutoring, and lots of swimming—what she’s doing now (despite the pandemic), what she would be doing if there were no pandemic, her concerns about college readiness, and three big questions that frame her ongoing self-education.

Don’t miss Olivia’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UC-Nckrk9b4j_c74HrYK85GQ) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/olivia-barnes-59617a200/).

A few more details: The school that Olivia attended in 8th grade was The Saint Constantine School, her math class was artofproblemsolving.com, and make sure to google “vaquitas”—they are adorable.

This interview was recorded on February 18th, 2021.

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