Balancing the Teenage Life

Allie Kelsey, Viewpoints Editor

Many teens struggle with the whole idea of balancing the many different aspects of teen life. As a teen, you have so much to think about because you are writing your future. High school can be a fun, but difficult time for teens. One of the hardest parts is to figure out how to balance your social, academic, and extracurricular life.

The academic part might be a breeze for some students. It just comes naturally to them. However, for others they have to work really hard for their grades and put in many hours of review and practice at night. The academic part of high school is very important because it is paving the way for your future opportunities, whether it be continued education in a two year college, four year college, trade school, or entering the workforce. Learning all the academic material and becoming a proficient learner can be stressful. Fortunately, many teens have different ways of getting help along their journey. Help can include a peer tutor, extra help after school by a teacher, a parent, a private tutor, built in labs like math lab and writing lab, or seeking out help from a guidance counselor when feeling too much pressure.

Academic life is not the only part of high school that is building the bricks on your path. Extracurricular activities play a major role in creating a well rounded person as you approach college or the workforce. Extracurricular activities, whether sports, volunteer clubs, science, art, or technology clubs, marching band, or outside activities like dance school or Girl/Cub Scouts, add many hours to an already busy schedule. These activities are just as important as academic life because they build your character, teach you about commitment, and can also be a stress outlet for many teens. Colleges and jobs today are looking for individuals that are well rounded in all areas, not just in their studies. It is important to demonstrate leadership skills and the ability to work well with others. Extracurricular activities can develop these skills and it is important to make time for them in a teen’s already hectic schedule.

High school years cannot be all work and no play! Every teen needs time for their social life. They need time to just hang with their friends, laugh, and forget all the pressures surrounding them. There will be all the years after high school to worry, life does not get easier as you get older. Now is probably the only time where the parents do all the worrying about work, bills, and all the responsibilities that come with being an adult, so it is important to have fun, too!

Hanging out with friends on the weekends, school vacations, and summer breaks is just as important as your academic and extracurricular activity life because it keeps you emotionally healthy. When you talk with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other adults in your life, most would say that high school was the best time of their life, but that they just did not know it then. The reason they probably did not realize it is because teen years can be hard and stressful while striking the balance, so it is important to stop and think about how you will not ever get these years back again and you should enjoy every moment you can. Attend events, go to concerts, hang out with friends, eat junk food, and laugh every chance you get because you do not get a redo!

So how do you pull it all off? In my past few years of trying to balance a social, academic, and extracurricular life, I have found that it is the easiest to plan your week out and dedicate days to certain things. Time management is very important. For example, I take two dance classes on Tuesday nights so I get in pretty late. I make sure I finish any homework I have right after school and if I know I am having a test I study for it before Tuesday, so that Tuesday only requires review. I also make sure I do homework right after school on Fridays, if I have any homework, so I can spend part of Friday and the rest of the weekend relaxing and having fun. I save some time on Sundays to sleep in late because rest is important, too. I also spend some time reviewing school work on Sundays so it does not all pile up on me, but I still have time for plans with friends and see family at night.

All three things are based off of each other, so it is important to strike a balance, or else one if not all areas will suffer. If all you care about is your grades then your social life goes down and you may not always be involved in extracurricular activities. If you are too focused on sports or other extracurricular activities, your grades might slip and that is not good because you could get cut off a team until your grades improve or have to stop participating in other activities you enjoy until your grades improve. It is called balancing for a reason, you have to make sure you are not just focused on one thing. You need to make sure you are focused equally and give each area the time it needs as each area needs it. You will find that each area will need more or less time at different times and mastering that is the key. It is a balancing act! Enjoy!