Balancing School and Activities

When I started high school this past September, I was overwhelmed with information from the numerous open houses and meetings I had been attending for the past six months. However, the one thing that stuck with me from all of the events was to get involved. So in the first couple weeks of school I went to signups and meetings galore, trying to find clubs that I would enjoy, and that would work with my schedule. After some trial and error, and learning how to use public transit, I found a variety of activities that I enjoyed, and that help to enrich my high school experience.

And while you may be weighed down with a backpack full of textbooks, or worried about the three tests you have next week, you can still be involved with activities both in and outside of your school. While schoolwork may be your priority, there are also benefits to extracurriculars – they allow you to meet fellow students who share your interests and teachers that can help you throughout your high school career, not to mention the fact that you become a more well-rounded student. So here are a few tips that I find very helpful when trying to balance clubs with courses.

1. Manage what you sign up for

If you know that you’re going to have a busy semester or school year, don’t sign up for as many extra curriculars. If you aren’t as busy, do more.

2. Join groups that matter to you

If you plan on going into business, DECA or another business club may be a good choice. If you love music, look into a band or choir. If sports are more your thing, find out what teams your school offers.


3. Enjoy what you do

Don’t join a group if it doesn’t appeal to you. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a meeting thinking of all the other things that you could be doing instead. Likewise, don’t join a group you’re not interested in just because your friends are joining it.

4. Plan ahead

If you know that you will have less time on a certain night, come up with a way to work around it in advance. That way you’ll still be able to enjoy your basketball practice or band rehearsal without having to worry about all the work you have to do afterwards.

5. Use your extra time wisely

If you know that you have an extracurricular after school, find time during the school day to do homework. If you aren’t busy at lunch, do homework while you eat. If you finish work in one class early, complete assignments from other classes instead of checking your texts or social media. It may not sound fun, but it pays off when you don’t have to stress about schoolwork into the wee hours of the morning.

6. Get clarification

Take time during the school day to ask your teachers questions, get clarification, and find out exactly what you need to do for specific assignments. It can save you time and unnecessary stress.

7. Mix it up

Find a mix that works for you. No two people are exactly alike, and likewise, no one schedule works for everybody. Try different things, and  find what you enjoy. You’ll like school much better if you get to do something you love

Charlotte Lilley is a 2015 Young Scholar Award Finalist and a grade 9 student completing her International Studies Preparation courses, precursor to the globally recognized International Baccalaureate Programme. For the past two years, she has received grades of 100% in her music classes, as well as being the recipient of her school’s 2015 Music Award. Charlotte has her Theory One certificate, as well as her Practical Grades One and Five certificates (both with First Class Honours) in piano, from Conservatory Canada. 

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