Striking a balance: students struggle with various priorities

by Myralexis Tijerina | staff writer

After arriving home from school, senior Olivia Garza eventually begins working on her homework. Around midnight, she decides to call it a night and go to bed. Around 4:30 AM, she wakes up and may continue to work on more homework, or in some cases, squeeze in a little extra sleep until 7:30, just to make it to school by 8 AM and squeeze in a little more study time. The next night, the cycle repeats itself.

“I don’t really sleep normal hours. I usually go to bed around 12 or 2 [AM]. If I don’t have a lot of homework, I get it done the night before; which is a lot of the time. I wake up at 4:30, I’ve done that before several times. Or if I’m like really not feeling it, I’ll wake up at 7:30 even if I have to leave at 8. I have 10 alarms,” senior Olivia Garza said.

For students involved in extracurricular activities in addition to advanced courses, being able to time manage effectively may prove challenging, and for senior Julia Ross, this seems to be no exception.

“I just don’t have time to practice or take my instrument home, and I never have time to practice. So that has stunted my orchestra growth I guess. I’m in the lowest orchestra [sub non-varsity],” Ross said.

Due to the course load, some students have even had to sacrifice the eight to ten hours of sleep that are recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. In addition, this organization reports that, “One study found that only 15% [of teenagers] reported sleeping 8.5 hours on school nights,” in order to study for a test or complete assignments.

“It’s terrible. Even though I like the benefits it just stresses me out a lot and there is just a lot of homework and assignments I need to do. Sometimes I get like five hours of sleep, sometimes four,” Ross said.

To the students it becomes more difficult to concentrate on AP courses and their extracurricular classes.

“We usually have a lot of homework and it takes time, I don’t really like it. It’s really stressful, from a scale of one to ten it’s an 11,junior Brandon Shimp said.

Some students are even trying to keep a focus on how their current choices can help them in the near future.

“I’m in only one AP class but it’s a lot of fun, especially because I chose to be in [AP Biology] because it helps me with what I want to do in the future. I want to be a biochemist to create certain medications to where it can cure mental illnesses like depression and anxiety,” junior Jenny Love said.

And so it’s during Flex Period when students appreciate having extra time to get a jump on their work.

“Flex time is when I get all my homework done. So when they have fire drills or mandatory videos I get upset, because if you’re going to ruin my week with flex, let me have it. You can’t take my time away from me,” Garza said.

Four years getting ready for college,  students want to have fun but in high school they have responsibility and commitment to be an adult. Students have their courses, organization, and last but not least they have a job. Not many students have time to do anything they would please.

“Free time? What is free time? No, well, I mean I have a  little bit but I go to school for eight periods and then five days a week I go to work. I work almost full time so no, I never have free time.” Garza said.

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