Student Advice: Balancing Athletics and Academics
For many students, sports are a major part of daily life. Whether playing for the school or athletics outside of Apex High, sports are an enjoyable and beneficial extracurricular activity, but they take up large amounts of time. Creating a balance between academics and athletics is a huge challenge with homework, studying, practices and games, with only twenty-four hours in each day! However, many student-athletes from AHS have found ways to master this balancing act, and they have advice to share.
Freshman April Groce is a year round swimmer, and she hopes to join the AHS swim team as well. Groce has been swimming for nine years, so she has quite a bit of experience with juggling school and sports. It is a major time commitment as Groce says she spends about fourteen hours a week practicing, and meets take up at least six hours. When asked how she fits in time for school responsibilities, Groce explained, “Sometimes I do my school work at practice or in random in-between times, but it’s hard to get it all done.”
For student-athletes, making use of any downtime is an essential way to get everything completed. This could be during the school day if you finish an assignment early, during lunch, or afterschool on the way to practice. Groce mentioned that even though squeezing in large amounts of homework with her swim schedule is difficult, she still makes it work because the benefits of playing a sport are irreplaceable. She detailed, “Participating in sports keeps you out of trouble and keeps you in good shape.” Groce’s best advice for other student-athletes is “Time management is really important. You have to make sure you plan out everything that you have to do that day and keep track of it all.”
Sophomore Paige Dunn runs cross-country for AHS and has been doing so for two years now. She spends about ten hours a week practicing, with her meets taking up around four hours each. Dunn expressed, “Fitting in large amounts of homework and sports feels really stressful, and as a result I stay up really late.” Many student-athletes can relate to Dunn, due to schedules full of rigorous courses. However, it is important to remember that everyone needs a break at some point, and you need to make time for an adequate amount of sleep each night. This is much easier said than done, but a tip for student-athletes is when selecting your courses make sure not to overload yourself.
Similarly to Groce, when Dunn is overwhelmed by trying to balance academics and athletics, she remembers the benefits. She described, “Playing a sport relieves my stress, and gives me time to hang out with friends.” Her best tips for others student-athletes who need to balance school and sports are, “Don’t get distracted, and work really fast!”
Although student-athletes are often in a race against the clock to complete all of their assignments, success can be achieved with focus and motivation. Prioritizing your tasks and staying organized and efficient are some of the best ways to remain on top of your work. Enjoy your sport and remember that diligence and effort will pay off.