Leading a Stress Free Life

Sydney Cott, Fall 2014 J1 student

There are more than 60 clubs and 13 sports offered for students to participate in throughout the school year at Blue Valley. Involvement in extracurricular activities is strongly encouraged by principal Scott Bacon; however, these activities require students to adequately manage their time. Sophomore Elizabeth Schrader participates in volleyball through the school and plays competitively year round. “I think students who participate in after school activities feel stressed out with the amount of homework, they have to do because they don’t have enough time to do it before their activity,” Schrader said. During her club season, Schrader finds it much easier to get her work done because practices are only two to three times a week. “It is a lot more difficult during school season to get my homework done because we have practice every day after school,” Schrader said. The majority of teachers assign homework for their students regularly throughout the week along with having them prepare for tests. Schrader said she feels all of her teachers think their class is the most important and don’t realize they have homework in other classes. She said this tends to make students have an abundance of work. Schrader said her club coaches have a different view on school than her high school coach. “I think [my club coaches] want us to focus on school, but they won’t let us use school as an excuse to mess around in practice or skip practice,” Schrader said. “They still want us to try our hardest in volleyball.” Kim Cobb, Schrader’s school coach, is a teacher at BV, which Schrader said makes it easier to focus on school during the season. “Usually, our school coaches think school is a lot more important than volleyball, so they are more lenient when it comes to skipping practice or part of practice to make up work,” Schrader said. Most students who participate in sports through the school miss part of the school day because they have to leave early for a game or tournament. Schrader has missed days before and said she has found it hard to make up the work she missed and still have time to do her other homework. “I think it’s hard to make up work if you miss school because it all piles on top of each other.” Schrader said. “A lot of times in the morning, I will have to do my homework right before class starts or right when I get to school because I didn’t finish it the night before.” Schrader also said it can be hard to finish her homework after practice because she usually gets home around 7 p.m. every night. “I think everyone on the sophomore volleyball team would agree it can be very stressful to get homework done after practice, but especially the people taking AP classes because their workload is a lot heavier,” Schrader said. Another issue most athletes have had a problem with is the mandatory gym class students have to take Schrader said. “I don’t think athletes should have to take gym because it is supposed to teach people how to stay active and since they are already in a sport they are already obviously being active,” Schrader said. Paige Cott, a resource teacher in the BV School District, had the same opinion on the subject. “I don’t think athletes need to take gym in high school because they are already active in their daily life,” Cott said. “They are putting in time to stay physically fit outside of school and shouldn’t have to use school time to meet that need. It would allow space for them to take another academic class if gym wasn’t in their schedule.” Sports are not the only way for students to be involved at school. There are many opportunities BV offers for people who are not interested in playing sports. Cott said she thinks it is important for students to try to participate in at least one extracurricular activity. “You don’t want to just do school all the time,” Cott said. “Even though it’s important, I think it makes you a better, happier, healthier person if you can find a way to balance your school work and other interests.” Cott said she loved participating in different activities in high school and said it’s important to try new things because later in life you don’t have the same opportunities. “Participating in extracurricular activities makes you a well-rounded person,” Cott said. “You get to meet kids from other grades and different walks of life than what you would have in your regular classes. It’s a way to challenge yourself and learn something new.” Sometimes students don’t always have the option of participating in after school activities depending on their situation. Cott said even though it is important to try to be involved in at least one activity outside of school, there are some exceptions. “If you have a job after school or don’t have outside transportation, it’s more difficult for students to participate,” Cott said. “I would like to see the school district try to do something to help kids with these circumstances, so it is easier for them to be involved in activities through the school.” Cott said colleges have different expectations than what they used to have, so it is important to stay involved in more than one activity. “The curriculum is more rigorous now and the college entrance expectations are more difficult,” Cott said. “Expectations are higher now.”