Trying to Manage It All

Over-scheduled and over-stressed


Maria Wood personal photo

Abington sophomore Maria Wood at Boston University’s College of Communication during Winter Visit Day on February 21, 2020.

Maria Wood, Staff Writer

In today’s world, being over-scheduled while trying to handle everything life throws at us is more common than not. For teenagers in high school, it is even easier to have that feeling of not being able to handle everything at once.

Adults will often underestimate how much students are managing at once, whether it is school-related or not. Now, it is understandable to be told, “You’re doing too much at once” from adults. After a while, it gets annoying, especially if said adults are the ones adding to the workload.

More times than not, that perfect balance is almost impossible to get.

— Maria Wood

It is not easy to juggle three to five activities at once by any means. I strongly believe that teenagers, and high school students specifically do not receive enough credit or help at the points where they have too much to handle.

For instance, schoolwork can take up a massive part of a student’s time. The average, well-rounded student will prioritize their grades. Keeping grades up can be difficult for some people, regardless of their learning pace. Classes are leveled out for this reason, but that does not always reduce the amount of work involved.

The assignments and classwork can pile up, especially in Level 1 or AP classes. If a student has homework or a project, essay, etc. in almost every subject, it becomes difficult to complete. The worst scenario for us students is when a teacher schedules a test or quiz the exact same day as other teachers. It causes a feeling of stress knowing that we have to recall all of that information over a short period. Information can get mixed up, formulas are forgotten, and the grade on assignments ends up being a lot lower than expected, despite studying.

It is not easy to juggle three to five activities at once, and juggling at least five subjects is no different.

Aside from academics, many students participate in multiple sports and clubs in school. These clubs can be a way to distract from the stress of school, but they can be a source of stress as well.

Almost all varsity sports practices are mandatory, and if you are not able to make practice, then you can’t play. The same goes for meetings and rehearsals. A lot of the time, these meetings will be on the same day, at the same time as the other extracurriculars. The situation arises where a student has to choose which they should attend, while also keeping the others aware that they will be missing. It then becomes a matter of dedication to each activity/club/sport, and sometimes that can affect the student’s participation.

Proper communication between advisors of extracurriculars can help, but not everyone is open to missing practices. It’s all about finding balance, really. More times than not, that perfect balance is almost impossible to get.

In addition to so many after-school activities to be involved in, students have things going on in their lives outside of school as well. Whether it be spending time with family members, working a job after school, or just trying to relax with any free time left over, a student’s outside life is just as important, if not more.

Students’ jobs can take up big chunks of time, leaving even less time to study for a test or practice for a sport. Sometimes, parents won’t see their child for hours on end due to their being away from the house for so long.

Perhaps the greatest impact falls on the aforementioned downtime students receive. It becomes tougher and tougher to find that time to forget about school for a while. It is necessary for us to take that downtime, and there needs to be an understanding of that. Unfortunately, many adults assume we can just keep on going and going.

As you can see, if being overscheduled did not have such a big effect on us students, then we could do everything we wanted and not have to worry about conflict. However, that is not the case, and most likely never will be. Adults should take a step back and really see how much work students put into managing everything at once.

When someone is struggling with time management, talking to parents, coaches, and advisors can really help. If those conversations happened more often, then maybe it would be possible for high schoolers to succeed while doing what they love at the same time. It shouldn’t have to be a choice between happiness and exhaustion.