By: Audrianna Imka
Hello there! My name is Audrianna Imka, and I am a master at overloading myself with extracurricular activities and electives. I have been at HB since Kindergarten, and in that time, I have learned how beneficial it is to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities this school has to offer. However, HB also tends to have a lot of homework, which is…not so amazing. If you ask any of my friends or family, they will tell you that I have spent many days running around in a complete panic, rushing from class to test to rehearsal to practice. Through much trial and error, I believe I have discovered some of the key elements to having a balanced life as an HB student, and I guarantee that they will help you in the long run. I also have a small advantage, because I somewhat enjoy living a chaotic lifestyle; I find that I am much more productive when I have fewer breaks in my day.
So without further ado, here are my tips on how to add a bit more balance to your life.
1. Prioritize Your Activities:
Make sure you are only taking classes and participating in extracurriculars that you truly want to be doing. Trust me, I know how tempting it may be to sign up for something because your friends are doing it, or because you want the recognition from others. Now, I don’t want to discourage you from trying new things. But if the thought of a club or class doesn’t make you genuinely excited to be spending hours on that activity, then I recommend opting out of it.
2. Don’t Do Things Because You Think You “Should”
Branching off of my previous point, you should never sign up for something just because you think you “should.” If your sole reason for choosing an activity is that it will look good on your college application, I fully expect you to drop out right now (that is, after you finish reading this article). Say you’re participating in a science club because you think it will heighten your chances of getting into a college you want to go to, but you really don’t enjoy science. Well then, what’s the point of putting a science club on your application if you’re never going to have a career in science in the first place?! It took me many years to make this change in my life, but now that I have, I am a much happier person.
3. Take Advantage of Opportunities During the School Day
There’s plenty of ways that you can incorporate your passions into your school schedule, which can increase your availability after school to work on homework and get some much needed rest. I know that lots of activities, such as sports, only meet after school, but you can also find some pretty cool stuff to do during the school day! Personally, I think I am much more productive when I have a long period of time to work on my homework after school, rather than short 30 or 50 minute increments during the day. Even though these electives may take up some of your free periods, they may even free up more of your time at the end of the day.
4. BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE
Ok, I know this article is teaching you how to balance your life, so using “balance” as one of the methods doesn’t really make sense, but just bear with me. You should be participating in a variety of different activities that pertain to your interests. If you love basketball and the performing arts, but you find yourself becoming a member of the school play, the dance concert, and HB Singers, and not leaving any room for basketball, then this might be something to address. I have found that I am my happiest when having a variety of different activities that I love, rather than devoting all of my time to one subject.
5. Use Your Free Periods
I know this is really cliche, but I’m not kidding. Free periods will literally save your life. I am guilty of being embarrassingly unproductive during free periods sometimes – it happens to the best of us. But if you can manage to find a quiet space somewhere in this school, hunker down, and crank out 50 minutes of homework, you will thank yourself later. Just think about how satisfying it is to cross things off of your to-do list before you even leave school for the day! Free periods are also nice for completing homework due that day that you may have put off the night before in order to get some extra sleep. However, this can sometimes be stressful, because you’re not sure if you’ll be able to finish the whole assignment in a 50 minute window.
6. Get Ahead!
I recently started getting ahead on the weekends, and it has made me SO MUCH more relaxed during the weeks! Personally, I like to get all my english reading done for the week, as I find this quite relaxing to do on the weekends. However, you could choose to spend an hour or two working on a paper that might be due later that week, or finishing your Spanish homework. I recommend completing all of the homework in one subject for that week (or at least as much as you can get done with what you have already gone over in class). I understand that it may be hard to do this, especially in subjects such as math and science, as you have not yet learned the material that you need to complete the homework. However, there is always something extra you can get done, and the feeling of being ahead is so rewarding that it will be worth the hour or two spent on homework over the weekend.