How To Effectively Balance Academics and Extracurriculars


Seniors Melania St. Cyr and Caroline McGrath manage sports, academics and extracurriculars.

Students, regardless of grade level, often take on time-constraining school and extracurricular workloads, leaving them little time to complete assignments, get sufficient sleep and still manage to have a social life. To combat the stress and lack of time to complete assignments, students develop strategies to stay motivated and effectively work on their course load even after spending hours doing extracurricular or school work.

To give a sense of a busy schedule, senior Melania St. Cyr participates in Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Fire Within, National Honor Society, Cross Country and Spring Track inside of school; additionally, she takes AP Studio Art, AP Literature, AP Physics, AP Calculus, works for Dunkin Donuts and volunteers at her church. To effectively get all of her work done, Melania has come up with her own system that is most effective for her.

“I split my workload. If a test is worth a big portion of my grade, I’ll spend the majority of my time studying for that instead of spending it all on a small homework assignment.” St. Cyr said. “By looking at the degree of urgency and weight for each assignment, I can attack everything more effectively and pick and choose which events and meetings are most pressing if there’s an overlap in scheduling.

Even though senior year maybe be hectic in terms of future plans, juniors, sophomores and freshmen also have their own stressful course loads. For instance, sophomore Martha Hilty is the president and founder of the Marine Conservation Club. She also participates in marching band, concert band and the School of Rock—where she plays ukulele, drums, piano and bass. Hilty also takes private instrument lessons and volunteers for nearby beach clean-ups outside of school.

“Plan out your day ahead of time if possible, and use a planner. If you write things down, it helps you stay organized (at least for me), and sometimes it’s okay to choose sleep over work,” Hilty said.

Personalized methods will help a student with choosing productivity over procrastination in the long run, but taking advice from others will help you to change your current routine to adhere to your time schedule and activities.

Senior Caroline McGrath is a captain for Track and Field and Cross Country and also participates in National Honors Society. On top of that, she takes a wide range of AP courses this year: AP Psychology, AP European History, AP Literature and AP Calculus BC. She also occasionally works for Walpole Recreation on the weekends. To balance all of her commitments with little time, she opts for a more direct approach.

“You really can’t procrastinate anything when you’re already short on time. You just gotta bite the bullet and do it,” McGrath said. “I definitely rely heavily on my study and try to work all the way through it.”

To maneuver limited accessibility to free time, junior Ava Jingozian does her homework wherever and whenever she can. Jingozian is involved with many clubs at the high school, including Film Festival, Drama Club, Best Buddies and Feminism Club. Outside of school, she belongs to a service youth group and goes to Saturday Armenian school.

I tend to do a lot of homework during my other classes or during my study or even at my job. I get home at around 7:00 every night and am so tired that doing work during school right as it is assigned to me helps me stay on top of it,” Jingozian said. “Write out everything you need to do and check it off as you go. Do the easy things first that will take less time.”

Like the other students, senior Nina Sacco takes several AP classes: Psychology, Literature and Drawing & Painting. Additionally, she is a member of Best Buddies, runs winter and spring track and works at Old Navy. To stay on top of her assignments and commitments, Sacco looks at her workload on a calendar scale, keeping assignments up to date and organizing her work load around her extracurriculars.

“Keep major deadlines organized because dates that seem very far away can quickly all come up at once, and turning your phone off for a few hours at night for less distraction,” Sacco said.

If students are struggling with keeping up with their busy schedules, it is best to ask students with classes alike to theirs for suggestions, and make sure to keep up with deadlines so that students aren’t cramming their work to fit in deadlines. Balancing a busy schedule will take long to form and get used to, but will be helpful in the long run for preventing stress and cramming on future assignments and activities.