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Balancing Extracurricular Activities and Academics

By: Brithi Settipalle

High school is hard. That’s just a fact. To make matters even worse, why don’t we add extracurriculars on top of all that work? Sports, clubs, leadership, the list goes on. 6 classes a day plus that? The stress is bound to get to you. So how do we deal with all of this? Well, luckily for us, it is entirely possible! With a little bit of work, you can get your schedule into tip-top shape to balance out everything you have. And maybe also a little bit of help from others. So, here are __ tips and tricks to balance out your extracurriculars and academics:

  1. Set Limits on Everything You Do

When it comes to things like college applications, we normally tend to try and do everything. That might seem like a good idea at the beginning, but you’re more likely to get burnt out if you try to give 100% in every commitment you have. Instead, know your limits. Allot a specific amount of time for each extracurricular activity you have to do. That way, you still have time and energy for other things. And, it’s better to reduce the number of activities as well, so you have more time for them. Learn to create a boundary between the right amount and too much. Don’t worry so much about what will happen without you; if that’s the case, then it’s likely that it’s not the best option for you to be involved in. 

  1. Say No If You Need To

You don’t have to do everything that everyone asks of you. After all, you are only human, and we all only have so much time in a day. Don’t be afraid to say no when someone asks you to do something, especially if you know that it will only make you more stressed. Your mental health should come first, not an extracurricular. Once you feel good enough to continue, then you can decide whether or not you want to do what you have been asked to do. 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows that you know your limits, and are strong enough to understand that you cannot do it alone. Asking for help doesn’t make you less than anyone; it simply helps you get better. All the best heroes in movies have mentors, so why can’t you? If you feel like you have too much on your plate, reach out to someone. A parent, teacher, counselor, there are lots of people that can help you get back on track. You can even ask your friends for help when you need it. By asking for help, you are only making your situation better. 

  1. Take Breaks

Working continuously is not fun. Not only will you get burnt out easily, but the quality of your work will drop significantly as well. Take breaks when you need to. Of course, this doesn’t mean study for 10 minutes and take a 1 hour break. But, you can split up your work into sections using things like the Pomodoro method, where you can study for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break. Your studying should be focused and without distractions, so that you can treat your break as a reward. I promise you, a day of productive studying really boosts your morale and motivation. 

  1. Put Yourself First

Alas, none of these methods will work unless you put yourself first. Your mental and physical health is the most important thing; everything else comes after that. If your health is declining, the quality of your academics and extracurriculars will follow. Take a day off, sleep in for once. Spend some time with your family and friends. Have a spa day. Even if it seems like you’re wasting time, you are actually wasting more time when you’re sitting at your desk, feeling overwhelmed. You are the most important piece of the puzzle, and if a puzzle piece is damaged, the whole picture won’t show. Prioritize your mental health, and the rest will come naturally. 

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