As the school year progresses, students work to balance academics and extracurriculars

By Kimmy Sullivan, ’15

As autumn approaches, students begin to participate in a plethora of time-consuming sports and activities. From soccer practice to choir rehearsal to debate team, 24 hours is hardly enough time to get everything done. When extracurriculars are combined with already overwhelming academic work, many students find themselves stressed and without enough time to honor all of their commitments.

Making the grade

Sophomore Gabby Angelis is currently enrolled in AP U.S. History, infamous for its overwhelming readings; Angelis feels stress due to this specific class.

“It’s just that class. I spend my whole night on AP homework, and that’s really stressful,” she said.

Devoting so much time to academic work leaves little room for extra-curricular activities. Junior Anna Grumman is taking two AP and two Honors classes, and is also a member of Key Club, the girls’ varsity tennis team, the orchestra and takes regular violin lessons. Though she feels she has a good balance of academics and extracurriculars at the moment, she is beginning to feel the stress from her commitments.

“I usually try to do all my hard homework and my activities first, and save the easy stuff for later…at night, but sometimes…. I won’t get to the easier stuff. I’ll have to rush to do it in the morning,” Grumman said. “So I’m trying to…find that balance.”

Senior Michael Merullo, member of the boys’ varsity soccer team, also has difficulty finding time for everything.

“It’s kind of hard sometimes, especially now that I’m in season, I don’t have a day off. I have practice monday through saturday, and I’m working sunday,” Merullo said.

However, being a senior has its benefits; Merullo’s two study halls on either side of his lunch period make his schedule significantly less overwhelming.

Even teachers recognize the vast amounts of stress falling on students’ shoulders. English teacher Matt Toohey feels that some of the enjoyable experience of high school is being cut short due to excessive academic work.

“High school’s supposed to be a fun experience balanced with learning the ropes of academia but for some of these people it’s way too much academics,” Toohey said.

Toohey is also a parent of a high schooler at UAHS.

“As a parent, I see that it’s way more than I ever saw when I was in high school.”


Although astounding schedules can seem hard to conquer, there are solutions to help students handle the stress of their busy lives. One solution is to make a single activity your priority; for Angelis, schoolwork comes before extracurriculars and sports.

“I definitely focus more on academics, so if I can’t finish something for history or another class then I’ll try and leave cheer early or not go to gymnastics,” Angelis said.

Toohey has another idea about how to deal with school-related stress.

“Find a safe outlet for stress. Something without a teacher, without a parent, without a coach, without an adult, where [you] can go and safely experience catharsis,” Toohey said.