By: Alena You
Balancing academics and extra-curricular activities can be difficult. When you have a commitment to go to school from 9 AM - 4 PM on the weekdays, you might think, “How can we balance school, friends, family, work, and clubs?” It is very different from the weekends, where you get to recharge all day and spend time with family. Many people do extra-curricular activities after school. It might be exhausting, and you might never seem like you have enough time. Here are some key ideas to think about when balancing academics with extracurricular activities.
Whenever you think of extra-curricular, they are extra to your academics. It is important to focus on your academics first, and then with extra energy, effort, and time, you will be able to join other clubs and organizations. It is not smart to join extracurriculars and lose the necessary time to study for a test or finish your assignments. If you have a huge test during the coming week, it is important to plan to take a step back from extra-curricular activities and participate in them on different days.
There are so many clubs and organizations available for you to join, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. I personally was a school treasurer, in the Engineering Academy, in the English honors program, in a volunteer program, as well as the basketball team in High School. Joining so many clubs did not allow me time to be as dedicated and involved as a school treasurer or the volunteer program. It is very important to learn how to say no, and make sure you are constantly evaluating what you should be making time for.
What really helps people is when they set schedules in their calendars. This helps people become more accountable and help them understand what is needed to be done in their week. Here is an example of my sample schedule in high school, and what I was most involved in:
As you can see, I had enough time to do my homework assignments, go to basketball practice, and work on challenging projects with my Engineering Academy. I also had time to eat, spend breakfast and dinner with family, get a good night’s sleep and also do interesting things on the weekend with flexible time. The calendar doesn’t have to be rigid and can be flexible in case certain things in the schedule change.
Google Calendar provides amazing features to help you better calendar block, such as dragging around the time that you want to create an event, color coding your events, and also sharing events with others. If an event is a repeat, there are good customizations to be able to repeat them (daily, monthly, certain dates of the month, etc).
Here is the link to Google Calendar: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/
In the end, Be self-aware of your energy and how long it takes to do each activity. Leave some room to be flexible. Everyone works on a different clock and it is important to make sure you have time for yourself for self-care and avoid burnout. Make sure you continue to put your academics first, learn to say no to unnecessary activities, and master calendar blocking. That is the key to finding balance.
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