OK. It's 3 in the afternoon and you have just finished an exhausting six hours of school. You have five minutes to be dressed and on the field for practice, plus be ready to play your absolute hardest until 5:30.
Then you have to go home, have dinner with the family and do three hours of homework, including studying for your history unit test and math quiz. But even before that, you have your daily household chores. Oh yeah, and don't forget that you have to get up an hour earlier tomorrow morning to be at your mock trial club meeting. When will you have time to sleep and socialize?
If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. For thousands of high school students across the country, time is precious, and there's hardly any time to just hang around. If you have a free moment, you'll probably spend it sleeping, because it's tough to find enough time for sleep these days.
And then there are those people you see in the halls who just seem to have it all together. They are involved in one sport per season, plus a plethora of extracurriculars, including community service, and they still manage to pull an average worthy of honor roll status, if not high honors. How do they do it? Three Williamsville North High School athletes tell how.
Siblings Kit and Amanda Edwards are both soccer buffs. They play varsity soccer for Williamsville North and also have played for club teams while managing to stay on the honor roll. They've even joined a few clubs along the way.
Amanda, 14, a freshman center, has played varsity soccer at North for two years. She plays basketball in the winter, has been active on student council and even played the cougar mascot at pep rallies at Casey Middle School.
To keep her grades up and her other activities up to par, Amanda finds that on her busiest days she has to sit in a quiet spot and make decisions about what items of her schedule are an absolute priority. She takes care of those priorities first and then makes time for whatever else comes along the way. She loves soccer, though, and says that although it's hard, she'd never give up playing the game.
Determination must run in the Edwards family because her brother, Kit, 16, a junior, is the same way. He also plays center for North and for the BSC Dynamo, a club team, which together take up seven days a week. Oftentimes, practices overlap, and he's left with even less time to do what he has to for school. Besides soccer, Kit has taken on junior class steering committee, Latin club and scholastic bowl.
His primary strategy is to stay organized. He also makes priority decisions and is often still doing last night's homework the next day in school during a free period just to keep up. He wouldn't trade in his loss of free time, either. "I like soccer more than anything," he says.
Chris Henning, 16, a junior, plays tight end and linebacker on the varsity football team. He loves football because it's very competitive and aggressive, and most of all, it's fun. After practice, he has dinner and then starts on his homework, followed by a few phone calls. In the off-season or on a day without practice, Chris can be found in the weight room, training. He does his homework as soon as possible on Fridays so his weekend can be free. He also stays organized and makes priority decisions.
Because he has chosen football as his sole extracurricular activity, he has a little bit more time than others, but he's still challenged with time constraints. Sometimes games run long or are far from home. Both take up time. "It's frustrating, but I love the game," he says.
So the strategy is the same for everyone: Stay organized. It does pay off in the long run. Colleges look at grades as well as extracurriculars. If you can keep it all together and remain a decent student, your application just may end up in the accepted pile.
Sports are a great way to meet new friends, to try out something that you've never attempted before, and they're a great way to have fun. Just remember to stay focused on your priorities and meet your deadlines. If you can do that, your years at school will be sweet and full with memories of teams and activities, not full of regret for what you could have accomplished and didn't.
Meg Glenn is a junior at Williamsville North High School.