Balancing Extracurriculars and Academics

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Balancing Extracurriculars and Academics

Sydney Wilson and Arely Matamoros

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We all love our athletics and extracurricular activities, right?  But what about your education? That’s important too, don’t you think?  Sometimes it’s hard to balance education and our other interests, but that’s all part of high school. Learning to manage one’s time is key, especially during a week as crazy as Homecoming week. 

If students feel that they’re suffering academically, students should speak to their coaches or advisors because most of them agree that your schoolwork should come first. Coach Rogers, a baseball coach, gave us his opinion and said, “Absolutely, 100%. Academics should come before sports at any time.” Mrs. Mullinax, the volleyball coach, stated, “Academics and sports are both equally important.” We didn’t find any Bob Jones coaches who thought that sports should come first, and most students agreed. Of the students we surveyed, 75.9%  thought that academics should come before sports and extracurricular activities. 

Do long practices hinder academic performance? And it’s not just sports. Other activities have long practices, too. Mr. Runnion, assistant principal and athletic director, discussed long practices. “It really just depends on the activity. When drama has a performance, they will sometimes practice 6-7 hours, while sports typically last 4-5 hours depending on the sport.”  Most students surveyed felt their practice times were fair and justified. Freshman football player Keaton Kirkpatrick stated, “We have a class 4th block that we learn plays, and then we practice until 5:30 after class.”  Freshman swimmer Ben Woods shared, “Practices last about 1 ½ to 2 hours but meets last 5-6 hours.”

Students who don’t plan out their week and coordinate with teachers might struggle more. Mr. Runnion also said something along these lines as well. He stated, “I am sure they aren’t doing well in class because they have to learn to balance their time well.” Although some students believe they are doing well with balancing their time, there are students who believe that, on occasion, the practices are too long. Color guard member Cadence Dukes shared her experience. “Our practices are usually only an hour-long, but if we have a performance the next day, the practices can be too long and it’s hard to do homework, even if you balance your time well.”         

Learning to manage one’s time can help students as they transition to college. College athletes have long practices as well and often travel during the season. Though some collegiate athletic programs have measures to help students balance their academics and sports, it’s still difficult, especially with advanced coursework. Even those students who aren’t playing sports in college can benefit from learning time management now. They might have to work while in college.

Some time management tips include the following:

  • Keep a calendar.
  • Plan ahead. If you have a competition, ask your teachers if you can do assignments early.
  • Use Google Classroom. If you’ve missed class, many teachers post key assignments and instructions on Google Classroom.
  • Take advantage of Patriot Path. Maybe you should work on something instead of playing corn hole.
  • Consider other distractors. If you’re also playing Fortnite or on social media all the time or participate in too many other activities, you might need to address the real culprit.
  • Communicate with your teachers and coaches. If you’re feeling too stressed, maybe they can help you develop strategies or timelines that work better.
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