As high school students, we juggle too many things to count. So much in fact, we could give circus clowns a run for their money. We have hours of homework, hours of sports practice, and we still have to find time for a social life. Some of us even pile jobs on top of all of everything else. Unfortunately, we aren’t vampires, so we need to sleep occasionally too. So the question is, how do we not get crushed under the pressure? Can we have it all or do we have to choose?
Personally, I have a ridiculous amount of things to do ever since I added college applications to the already very long list. The only way I can get through it is to stay as organized as I can. That’s the only strategy I use. I keep the most important files or papers right on top of my desk so I can easily find them and keep an agenda to help me keep track of all my assignments.
I asked around my high school to see if any other kids had specific strategies to help them balance everything. Lindsay McGowan, a Blessed Trinity High School senior and member of the dive team has some helpful tips. “I try to do things right when I get them, instead of procrastinating, even though that’s hard for teens,” she says. “I use my study hall at school to the best of my ability to get my homework done that is due for the next day as well as to get ahead on homework I’ve just been assigned.” Signing up for a study hall at school can drastically reduce the amount of work you have when you get home. If you use it wisely that is. “Staying away from my phone and the Internet are also key things to help me stay focused,” Lindsay adds.
Annaleah Fernandez, another senior from Blessed Trinity, designates certain times to do things and sticks to that schedule. As a varsity lacrosse player in honors classes, she has to utilize her time wisely to complete everything on time. “During lacrosse season” she says, “obviously I have to go to practice, but after that I let myself calm down and relax for about an hour and then get down to doing school work. I try to go to sleep at a reasonable time but that doesn’t always happen.”
A reoccurring theme for teenagers is lack of sleep. With so many things to do in a day, sleep seems like the least important thing. I asked Lindsay and Annaleah if they ever felt the need to choose between good grades, social lives, and sleep and both agreed they did have to choose. Lindsay adds, “I always feel like I’m compromising aspects of my life to get good grades, sleep especially. I never go to bed before midnight most nights.”
As a high school student with a busy schedule myself, I completely agree. To get good grades, I sacrifice sleep. To have a social life, I sacrifice sleep and sometimes I sacrifice my social life in favor of getting some much needed rest. It’s nearly impossible to have all three but we try anyways.
High school really is a balancing act. Try to find a strategy that works for you and stick with it. That could mean getting a study hall or setting a specific time to go to sleep or doing your work as soon as you get it. Balance your life to the best of your abilities and even though sleep is the first thing to go, remember how important it is. Balance requires skill and skill requires practice. If something isn’t working for you, go back and try something else. With all of the things we cram into our schedules, the balancing act is something we have to master.