By Megan Rice
Are teens juggling too many responsibilities these days?
Most teenagers would probably answer yes to that question. For the well-rounded teen, high school leaves a student with little free time. It may seem impossible to balance schoolwork, sports and activities, a social life, and a healthy sleep schedule.
With practices every day after school for athletes and dozens of available clubs, involved students are exhausted by the time they get home at night. High school sports are very intense and students often struggle with balancing their sports schedule with their homework schedule.
Students are encouraged to involve themselves in many activities, but how much is too much?
Many students are in for a shock when they transition from middle school to high school, with increasing amounts of schoolwork. If they are involved in many after- school activities, most are unable to start their homework until late at night.
Most high schools give an average of 3.5 hours of homework a night. Kids are tired enough from a long school day and activities, and should not have to stay up late every night, completing hours of work.
For some kids, being so busy forces them to be more productive. However, this tactic does not work for everyone.
“For me personally, sports help me to get work done without procrastinating, because I know I don’t have a lot of time. But I do find myself going to sleep a lot later. But being busy helps to keep me on task,” says IHA freshman, Fiona Ralph.
The average teen needs approximately 8-9 hours of sleep every night, but according to a national survey in 2006, only 20% of adolescents get the recommended 9 hours on school nights. Also according to the survey, at least once a week, more than a quarter of high school students fall asleep in class.
From the moment kids begin freshman year, they start hearing the dreaded word: college. Not only is there academic pressure to get top grades, but most schools expect to see a well-rounded student, not only involved in many activities, but excelling at them, and challenging him or herself with the most difficult courses available.
Sure, it’s manageable, as long as you give up normal sleeping hours or a social life.
So what is the solution?
If kids hope to attend a great school they need to be well-rounded. An athletic student cannot have bad grades and a good student cannot be uninvolved. So, students are forced to brace themselves for four difficult years of balancing school and sports, and simply have to embrace the stress and lack of sleep that come along with it.
“High school is really stressful for people because everything we do in high school is working towards what we want to do with our future. It can be a lot of pressure at times,” says Kristen Gimelli, IHA freshman and student athlete.
Sure, high school teaches kids early on how to juggle all their responsibilities and manage their time before they enter the real world. However, is it necessary to be so intense?