Time Crunch

Kelsie McFadden, Fall 2014 J1 Student

For most high schoolers, a typical school day lasts roughly from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., along with any unfinished homework or tests to study for outside of class. But for some students who are involved in extracurricular activities, things work a little differently.

Sophomore Noah Patton is enrolled in band and rep theatre all year, along with one semester of jazz band. On top of that, he participates in any mainstage shows at school and church activities on a weekly basis.  He said the amount of activities is starting to take a toll on his academic efforts.

“I am unable to keep up with my schedule this year,” Patton said. “Being in all these activities requires a lot more time management.”

From morning band practice to play rehearsal after school, Patton said he often spends more waking hours at Blue Valley than he does at his own house.  On a busy day, he said he spends more than 12 hours at school, however he isn’t upset about that.

“I love Blue Valley performing arts,” Patton said. “It’s what I live for — it’s what makes me happy.”

Patton said the only problem with taking three performing arts classes is he has almost no room for his required courses.

“I have a lot of courses that I need to take junior and senior year,” Patton said.

He hopes to continue in all his performing arts, but doesn’t know if doing so will allow him to graduate.

“I’m going to try and do [the required courses] online,” Patton said. “However I might have to drop rep theatre so I’m able to graduate at the end of four years.”

Along with less time, Patton said all the extracurricular activities he is involved in can occasionally have a negative impact on his grade.

“Balancing everything is difficult,” Patton said. “If I’m not done with my homework past 10:30, I give up and go to sleep because I know that it won’t get done at that point.”

Although Patton spends more time at school than home, has to work harder to obtain good grades and has to take several online classes, he said he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“[Being involved] is definitely worth it,” Patton said. “Performing arts is something that I’m passionate about, and I hope to pursue it in college.”

Performing arts isn’t the only thing that can take up students’ time. Sophomore Sydney Van Ophem is on the varsity golf team and said it keeps her very busy.

“The most time consuming part is the golf tournaments,” she said.

She misses one to two school days per week during the season, and said it makes falling behind in classes easy.

“I get really behind on homework because I miss a lot of [school],” Van Ophem said.

Even though she misses so much school, Van Ophem said she finds ways to stay on top of her schoolwork.

“I normally go onto Schoolcenter,” she said. “If I really need help on something, I’ll talk to a teacher before or after school.”

By utilizing schoolcenter and talking to her teachers Van Ophem said she does a pretty good job of staying on task.

“I feel pretty good about my grades right now,” she said.

Van Ophem said she would highly recommend getting involved in sports or extracurricular activities.

“Being in a school sport is so worth it,” Van Ophem said. “You get to put yourself out there and get noticed by colleges.”

Although it can be difficult to balance, she said being involved allows students to meet new people and try new things. When she went to the State golf tournament, Van Ophem said all the hard work paid off.

“Going to State is a great experience,” Van Ophem said.

Extracurricular activities and sports aren’t the only things that take up time in students’ lives. Sophomore Meghana Ammula volunteers one to two times per week at places around Kansas City, accumulating about 25 hours per month. She said at times it can be hard to fit all the volunteering in.

“It’s difficult to fit into your schedule,” Ammula said.

Since her volunteering doesn’t normally occur during the school week, Ammula said it doesn’t really affect her grades. She said she always makes sure to get everything done before she volunteers.

“[Volunteering] makes you more busy,” Ammula said. “As long as you set aside time do everything you need to, it’s easy to get all your homework and studying done.”

Ammula said she volunteers at hospitals, rescue kitchens and other local charities.

“There are so many things that you can volunteer for,” Ammula said. “All you have to do is call a place and ask them if they’re accepting volunteers. It’s that simple.”

She said it can be hard at times to finish everything she has to do at each location, but it’s not impossible.

“You can’t goof off too much while volunteering,” Ammula said. “You can have fun, but you have to stay focused and on task in order to get everything done.”

Ammula has been volunteering for several years, but she said it’s never too late to start. In fact, she said she recommends students to volunteer, even if it’s only once every couple of months.

“You should volunteer because it teaches you lessons,” Ammula said. “You’re being benefitted with community service hours while benefitting the community.”

She said it’s satisfying to see all the work pay off.

“Volunteering is a great way to give back,” Ammula said.

Even though extracurricular activities can be hard for Patton, Van Ophem and Ammula to balance with academics, they all said they would recommend getting involved in and outside of school.

“You’re only a teenager for a short amount of time,” Patton said. “Take advantage of all the amazing opportunities you have, and don’t let them pass you by.”