After Semester 1, we’ve got a new sense of self, a refreshed beginning and the opportunity to fix what might have failed us in the fall.
So, a question from one student, “What can we do to balance academics, extracurriculars, athletics and all that is expected of us in and out of school?”
It just so happens that the West Way Theme for this quarter is Live Life Well. As we try to enjoy life and be productive/responsible human beings, it is difficult to always ‘fit it all in.’ So, what do we do? Here are some thoughts from students I’ve talked to to help create balance in your life while staying healthy and happy…
“I would suggest participating in a wide variety of clubs and sports during one’s early years at West to see what one likes and doesn’t like. During the back half of your time at West, focus on the activities that you feel the most passionate about and attempt to work your way up to a leadership position in that club or sport. It’s not about the quantity of clubs, but the quality of your investment in them.”
Paul du Vair, Senior
“I have started to spend less time on my phone and start my homework as soon as I get home. These two things have helped me get to bed earlier. I am still trying to find ways to get more sleep because I enjoy my day more when I get enough sleep.”
Meg Farley, Senior
“My advice would be to try to keep a list of things you have to do like finishing assignments and going to work/clubs with respective dates so you can plan out what you need to get done as soon as possible.”
Ethan Falck, Senior
“I would recommend keeping a physical agenda because I have one where I write down when I’m working, practices, appointments, or any other after school activities in addition to any homework or tests I have. It helps me keep track of time and balance my schedule.”
Jillian Evans, Senior
“I always make sure that I am doing things that I love to do, and that I have an end goal in mind. All of the hard work that I do will pay off, and that is my motivation. One piece of advice for anyone struggling with balance is this: you always have a choice to either make your schedule busier or to ease off, and know when you are under too much pressure.”
Gabriella Di Domenico, Junior
“I’d say that sports has actually helped me balance out my homework because it forces me to time manage…a sport or any school activity definitely helps you have a break of school and be ready and focused when it comes time to complete homework. Although challenging yourself is good, you also want to be able to enjoy your high school career.”
Morgan Clifford, Junior
The point of maintaining balance is so that stress does not rule our lives. Some stress is good, I swear. Stress can be a motivation towards action, and it has even been known to raise the levels of performance in athletics, work and yes, school. It is also inevitable. So we should REALLY try to embrace it. The ultimate focus, however, is how we react to adversity and deal with the situations that cause us distress.
So, when that anxiety or tension arises, what else can we do?
One important aspect of dealing with adversity is framing your situations appropriately. If we decide to step back a bit, look at our lives and focus all of our energy on the 5% that isn’t going so well, while not giving any attention to the 95% that “is actually pretty good,” then we’re not balancing.
Now it is natural for the human brain to want to fix what ails us, but that would be like spending all of your time on the hardest question of a test (to try and make sure you get it correct) and neglecting the rest of the exam. We’re taught to skip those and come back to them later, right? We’re supposed to break those questions down and try to figure out the aspects we understand and can address directly. Why can’t we do that with stressful situations?
I know…it is easier said than done.
In the end, we’re all in this together. Your friends, teachers, counselors and even administrators experience the feelings of being overwhelmed with school and life. Talk to them. Ask them about what works and doesn’t work for them. Lean on those around you.
The West Way always ends every announcement, post or thought with #TogetherWeAreWest. Right there is every reason to take advantage of the people here that support that concept…to help YOU take care of you.
Don’t forget, if you have questions you’d like to ask or have some feedback…email the newspaper editors or me. I’d love for your to be a contributor to “Your Friends’ Advice.”