School, Athletics, and a Social Life? No Problem!

Lots of students at Apex High School are athletes. Whether they participate in a sport inside or outside of school, they are constantly busy. Between going to school, going to practice, and doing homework, it seems like there is not enough time to have fun with friends or to enjoy a personal hobby. Depending on one’s workload in a semester, it could become difficult to balance all of the above, and often times, it could turn into a sedentary lifestyle. While student-athletes have priorities in the order of academics, athletics, and fun, it does not have to be as difficult as it seems. There are ways to balance the three without burning out or having to cut out anything fun. You are only a high schooler once, yes? As a student athlete, and after trial-and-error, I can confidently say that it is possible to balance them all.

Athletes have requirements to remain on teams, and normally means they cannot fail any classes. Because of this, the athletic departments recognize athletes who also achieve in the classroom. Apex High’s own cross country team are prime examples of this; it is rare to have someone not get the Cougar Club Award or the Academic All-Conference award on the cross country team, on both the men’s and women’s teams. The Cougar Club Award is when the athlete had A’s and B’s for the quarter during the sports season whereas the Academic All-Conference Award is when the athlete has a GPA of 3.0 or higher, meaning the athlete is more than likely on the honor roll. The Cougar Club Award is given to Apex High students while Academic All-Conference is given to students in the Southern Wake Athletic Conference, also known as SWAC.

While it seems overwhelming, athletes have fun playing on their respective sports teams; if not, then why would they do it? Their team can be a form of socialization just from the bonds one can acquire from meeting new people on the team. Practices can be just as fun as hanging out with friends with your teammates because after spending so much time with them, you make friendships. This applies to not just athletes but to anyone who spends a lot of time in activities. For example, the marching band and the drama department spend a ton of time practicing for an upcoming competition or production.

The best bit of advice I can give is to not procrastinate. Using your time wisely inside or outside of the classroom is the most beneficial way to have time for fun activities. Have a down day with no previous plans? Crank out any homework that you have, so it can minimize the stress later on than if it had not been done earlier. Start a project early to finish ahead of time; trust me, it will help. Even extra time in class is a good time to get some homework done and more time later in the day to chill. Time management can be the key to it all. Unless, an athlete is taking four AP classes in one semester, that’s a different story. Yet, everyone will have those days where they need a lazy day, and it is totally okay! Treat yourself! Self-care is important especially if there is a period of time that is crazy, but having too many can become an issue.

Another tip is to have goals or inspiration to motivate you, such as another person. There are people out there with amazing stories that inspire and motivate others. Sometimes, hearing the success of others can be a motivator to do better, hard work pays off, both in sports and in academics. But, it’s also okay to explore new interests if they are stumbled upon.

High school is the time for people to figure out what they want to do with their lives, what their likes and dislikes are, who they are as a person. It’s like this for EVERYONE, and it is okay to have fun with the last years before the inevitable stage of adulthood, but being mindful of others and your surroundings is highly advised, especially on social media.

When a student-athlete registers to be a part of a team, there is a code of ethics. This includes social media, and there have been incidents where athletes have gotten in trouble for being involved in things not in line with the ethics guidelines. Personally, I feel that there is a percentage of athletes that are not aware of this, if they were; then the incidents would not repeat. As lots of people have probably said, think before posting; it could come back to haunt you.

No matter the sport, athletes put lots of time into improving their abilities in it while taking time to stay on top of academics, and because of this, they do not have a lot of time for hobbies or to hang out with friends. But with having a goal, inspiration, and general grasp of time management skills, time for fun doesn’t seem as far away as summer does.

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