Students struggle to manage time


Emily Oba

Time is many student athletes’ worst enemy when it comes to school. There is never enough time when it comes to finishing homework, studying for an upcoming test or sleeping.
According to a Harvard School of Public Health parent survey, 16 percent of parents said their children were stressed about the amount of homework given to them. Specifically with high school students’ parents, 24 percent said that homework was the leading cause of their children’s stress.
Sometimes finding time for schoolwork can be hard. Students who balance playing a sport and school have to use their time wisely if they want to be successful in both.
As a pole vaulter, part time gymnast and student in five advanced placement (AP) classes, junior Jordan Banker often finds herself swamped.
“This is always the most stressful time of the school year for me. I’m trying to juggle all my classwork, while going to offseason track practices every day after school and while making it to gymnastics practice a couple times a week,” Banker said. “I also have competitions most weekends, sometimes for gymnastics and sometimes for track. The other most stressful time is second semester finals because I’m trying to study for all my exams, and the most competitive part of track season is around the corner.”
The University of Phoenix College of Education issued a survey on how much time is spent on homework for high school students. They found from the 1,000 teachers surveyed that the average amount of homework given was three and a half hours per week. With RBHS students having at least five teachers, that could add up to 17 and a half hours of homework each week.
Freshman Emily Litton’s biggest worry is time. She has to travel to an indoor facility in Excelsior Springs, MO because it’s preseason. After practice she has to endure another long car ride before she can eat, take a shower and finish homework.
“We get out of school so late and practice is after school, so sometimes there isn’t a lot of time for homework,” Litton said.
The stress that comes from this responsibility can take a toll. According to the American Physical Association, stress can lead to muscle tension and chronic stress. This can cause stress related disorders such as tension-type headaches, migraines and muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
“School gives me stress when I have a large load of homework or projects to work on, as well as tests to study for,” junior Aliyah Blackburn said. “The most stressful time is always the constraint I have after track practice.”
According to the American Psychological Association, teens can reduce stress by exercising with some friends so that it is more of a fun activity rather than work.
Teens should try to get more sleep at night, avoid looking at electronic screens in the evenings, refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages at night and avoid stimulating activities right before bedtime. They also need to realize that school is not everything and do something that makes them happy, like music, drawing or writing.
Lastly, teens should talk to a trusted adult, parent or teacher so that they can help figure out more ways to cope with the stress, the APA said.
“A little stress is a good thing. It can motivate students to be organized, but too much stress can backfire,” clinical psychologist Mary Alvord said. “Just basic time management will help reduce the stress.”
Learning how to spend time efficiently is different for each person, but Blackburn believes that skill is the key to her success.
“Time management is how I manage to do both sports and school,” Blackburn said. “It doesn’t leave me a lot of free time, but the few hours I have after practice, and in AUT, I devote to homework.”
Although playing a sport entices many and is used for fun or to relieve stress, students always seem to get stressed from the thing they love.
A report from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons said that teenagers feel pressured to play their high school sport, regardless of pain or injury. Teenagers see backing out of a game because of an injury as being weak, and that is not an option for them. The pressures before a game can lead to loss of sleep or anxiety because the desire to win the game is so strong.
People’s love of sports keeps them from quitting and the necessity of school forces students to handle the responsibility.
“School stresses me more than sports,” Banker said. “I think it’s because I value school over sports. I feel like my education is more important to my future.”
When the most important time of the school year collides with an important time in sports, it can put even more stress on students.
“Last year we had a big week of baseball, and I had finals to study for which was stressful,” sophmore varsity baseball player Brant Scrivner said. “I had to go to practice and deal with finals at the same time.”
To deal with all of the activities in her life, Banker said she tries to plan ahead.
“You can’t be doing your homework and practicing a sport at the exact same time, so you have to manage your time well. I get ahead on as much homework as I can during the weekends, so I have minimal work during the week,” Banker said. “I also try to plan when I do homework. For instance, I know that I have two workouts every Wednesday and that I’ll be super tired afterwards, so I try to get most of my stuff done Tuesday and leave the rest for Wednesday night.”