A manageable balance

Kate Jackson provides LM student athletes with helpful pointers for managing sports and schoolwork. Many of these pointers are great for helping with stress and pressure from balancing two activities with a large workload.

Finding a perfect balance between athletics and academics can put a lot of stress on a student. | Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

As winter comes to an end and the spring sports season begins, many students may be juggling a new sport with school and possibly other commitments. This means that it is very important for students to learn how to manage their time. Similar to many other athletes at LM, I have been in time-crunching scenarios where I forgot a homework assignment or got stressed over a busy schedule due to sports. However, there are certain things that can aid students when it comes to balancing their athletic and academic life. One of the most prominent of these is being able to stay organized. A great way to do this is to write down all assignments for each class or activity somewhere such as a homework planner. Keeping a planner for your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule can help organize each individual day. This way makes it easy to remember times for school, games, practice, travel, and any other commitments. That being said, student athletes should plan their week ahead so that they can prepare for each upcoming homework assignment, project, or test based on the free time that they have organized.

Additionally, for students who have daily, or even twice daily practices, taking advantage of the weekends are crucial. When you know you have a busy week, it can be stress relieving to accomplish some school work ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it later. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. If you have a long commute to practice, games, or any other activity you can also use that time to review notes, read chapters, or study. Unless you’re the one driving, which then of course you can listen to audiobooks or podcasts instead while you gear up for the activity ahead. Lastly, if you take less than a full schedule of classes, frees are always a great time to be efficient and get work done. It can be tempting to spend your free time on your phone or be gener- ally unproductive, especially with virtual schedules at home, but utilizing your time during the school day minimizes conflicts that arise later between athletic activities and homework.

Another thing that took me a while to learn is that procrastination helps no one. Waiting until the last minute never ends well and can often lead to missed practices or games. That is why it is essential to stay on top of school work— once you fall behind, it becomes an even larger load for student athletes who then have to play catch up with grades. If needed, LM also has great tutoring programs for high schoolers who need extra help, like the National Honor Society. This way you won’t fall behind and you can get the extra help you need. Guidance counselors are also always available to assist student athletes dealing with stress and anxiety, or just those in need of time management resources.

It can definitely feel all consuming to play sports with an already demanding course load, so it is important to manage your time wisely and remember that there are many ways to develop those skills. Whether it be other students, tutors, coaches, counselors, or teachers, you always have people you can go to for guidance and support. Using any extra time to get ahead instead of procrastinating work is one of the most crucial skills for student athletes to learn and practice in high school—one that will continue to be an asset throughout the rest of your life.