Importance of Balancing Schoolwork with Extracurricular Activities

In high school I was a three-sport athlete, honor roll student, and member of the wind ensemble all four years. I went to a private school in Alexandria, VA that had an extremely demanding curriculum and boasted a 100% graduation rate. One of the biggest motivating factors for me was finding that although I wasn’t a top recruit on the football field or the best clarinet player, the better I did in school the more opportunities I would have. When making the transition from high school to college, you’re not only competing with your peers at school but also with other students across the country and abroad. Because I had a solid GPA in high school, I was chosen ahead of students who may have been more talented but were not as successful academically. This is why it’s so important to put equal effort into academics as well as extracurricular activities. In my experience I found it easier to get work done while I was in season or preparing for a concert. When school gets out at 3:30 and practice goes from 4 – 6 P.M., you have a small window of time to get homework and studying done. Because of the time crunch, I felt obligated to buckle down and get my work done. On the other hand, I found that when I was out of season and not involved in extracurricular activities, I procrastinated to the point where I did not complete some of my obligations at all. This brings me to the point that there’s only so many hours in the day, and that makes it important for students to budget their time wisely and set aside a particular block of time to make sure assignments and studying can be completed. I was raised in a household that forced me to get my work done before I could enjoy leisure time.


Not much changed in college when I was a full time Division 1 athlete and honor roll student. My parents and siblings always engrained in me how school was just as important as athletics or any other after school activity. But in college, they were not around to enforce such rules. At the Division 1 level where athletics accounted for over 35 hours of my time per week, it became very difficult to excel in 5 classes simultaneously. When you’re living on your own with more freedom in your schedule in college, it’s important to apply the same principles that I did in high school. It’s also important to take advantage of the resources around you. I always made a point of introducing myself to all of my professors, used resources at the library when needed, and solicited extra help from professors during their office hours or other qualified tutors. Lastly, one thing to keep in mind is that you may play an instrument or sport or act for multiple years throughout your life, but your mind and your education will last a lifetime.


Written by Laith Wallschleger, Novastar Prep Subject Coach


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