Finding the perfect school vs. life balance

Adalyn Campbell, Design Editor

With finals underway, the balancing act of extracurriculars, academics, and personal lives can start seeping into the minds of students, affecting performance and mood. Students often prioritize academics at the expense of personal factors, missing out on sleep and mental breaks. This lack of breathing space overloads one’s brain and affects academic performance.

It’s easy for anyone to get overloaded. Stress comes with all aspects of life: school, work, and social settings. When it comes to teenagers, there is a lot expected. We are supposed to go to school each day, perform to the best of our abilities, participate in extracurricular activities, maintain a social life, and attend school events. Club involvement and leadership positions can be beneficial for the future, but between club meetings, volunteering, and competitions, there’s very little time left for actual schoolwork. Many students are also encouraged/expected to get a job to teach life skills and start building up funds. In this busy schedule, when is there an open spot left for rest and relaxation, or time to finish homework? Here are some ways that you can avoid pitfalls and manage your time a little better in high school.

Choose a few activities and stick to them
When caught under a heavy load of pressure, remember that it is beneficial to give up certain aspects of your life to make room for other needs. Being a dedicated member of one club already takes up a lot of time, but being dedicated to five clubs takes five times the amount of time. Demonstrating involvement and passion is important, but there must be a time when you choose which activities are the most meaningful to you, or you can find yourself stretched too thin.

Work with others
Even in leadership positions, there are students all around that are just as passionate and willing to help. It is okay to divide up tasks and draft reinforcements to alleviate pressure on your own shoulders. In core classes, bouncing ideas off of classmates with similar academic excellence as yourself is more engaging than working completely alone. If you find yourself struggling on a specific task – call a friend! – they are more than likely struggling too and you can find a solution together. On the opposite side though, you must learn to say ‘no’. If you have a friend who does not listen in class or is lacking in academic drive, do not devote your time to helping them understand every aspect of a class. While you may feel guilty, it is important to learn boundaries so that you can stay focused on your own personal track.

Avoid perfectionism
Perfectionism refers to a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors aimed at reaching unrealistically high goals. This perfectionism causes more harm than good. As a student, strive to be a higher achiever, not a perfectionist. A misstep that many students make is overloading their schedules with upper level classes. While taking these courses can seem like a foolproof way to get attention from colleges, it can hurt more than help. Of course, it is good to challenge yourself, but challenge yourself within reason. A small difference between ranking will not deter or attract universities any more than the other. Academic and extracurricular achievement as a whole will show aptitude and capability to complete work. The effort you spend on bumping your class rank two spots could be spent applying to scholarships, or catching up on time with friends and family.