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A Balancing Act

Original post made by Corynn, Danville, on Oct 4, 2010

One School Day = six hours. That’s not entirely true, when you think about it, you still have to deal with school even after the six hours are done. There is homework that the teachers assign, and also studying for tests and projects. So how much time is left over after you’ve done all of the work? Well, it depends on what time you go to bed and there are many other variables, as well. One variable has to do with how many academic classes you are taking. If you take AP or Honors classes you are going to have more homework and you’ll end up using some of the left over time to study for more tests. They have more curriculum to cover, so there will be more (outside of school) work to do.

But schoolwork isn’t the only thing that takes up the time of a high school student. Sports, theater, chorus, and dance, also take up time during the week (and weekend). You have practices, (with the team and on your own) and then there are the games. There is stress not only on the players to be at every practice and all of the games, but also to keep their grades up and do well in school.

All of these things take away from what teens consider to be the most important part of high school…friends. Football games, homecoming dances, and Facebook, are all ways to develop a deeper relationship with friends. And, as you look around, the relationships built in high school can and will last a lifetime.

The pressure to "be the best" and take the most "challenging classes" is stronger than ever for high school students. Have you ever been told to "do the best you can do" and "if you know you’ve done your best then what ever the outcome is, it will be okay." Well, it’s almost impossible for students not to compare themselves to others. It seems colleges are harder to get into, and we hear it’s harder to get a job, so the people who get attention are the people who do the "best," or the people who have "connections." That leaves out the middle people. As a society we have built a social pyramid and put our students at the bottom, expecting them to climb to the top. Even though parents and adults may not mean to, the pressure to "be the best" and make our parents "proud" is definitely a component.

Yes, going to college and getting a good job are what we need to do for ourselves but there is still a part of us that wants to do it for our parents. But our accomplishments don’t need to be life saving accomplishments to be considered a success. For example, writing a personal narrative about the trip you took last month or painting a picture of your dog sitting on the couch or just writing a card that showed how much they love you can be a success.

Supporting your children and pushing them to do their best is a great thing, but as a society we need to realize that kids have to master the balancing act of a student, an athlete, an actor, a singer, a family member, and a friend on our own.

Sometimes the greatest pressure we feel is the pressure we put on ourselves.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Kerry Dickinson
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 6, 2010 at 7:23 am

I'm a parent of two high school students. Have you seen the documentary "Race to Nowhere?"
It addresses all of the stresses you mention in your article. ( And, I also write about these unhealthy stress levels in my blog called East Bay Homework Blog
(Web Link). My question to high school students is how can you make an impact on your family and school community to begin to change this uneven balancing act? Writing and talking about it is a good first step. Perhaps the local high schools can begin student stress forums or something that is student-driven which will help alert parents, teachers and administrators to these problems. I'm willing to help. Write me if you want to talk about some ideas.

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Posted by Rachel Ennen
a resident of Danville
on Oct 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

THANK YOU! Finally people can remember what its like being a teenager and have sympathy on us, or at least understand what its like.

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Posted by Natalie Bartnick
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Yes, I completely agree. It is so hard to do well in school and still have time for sports, theatre and friends. I just don't think the teachers and parents really get it, you know? They just kind of expect it.

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Posted by Casey
a resident of Danville
on Oct 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Corynn! its Casey- the only casey you know. I love this article and really agree with it..

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Posted by Ashley
a resident of Blackhawk
on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

You think parents don’t get it, but we really do. We were once high school students, too! High school is where you are supposed to learn how to balance different aspects of life, and you students should ask your parents why we always say “do your best.” For me and my husband, it is not for us to be able to say how proud we are. We say that as a gentle reminder for our kids because we have more life experience and know what it takes to succeed. As parents, we are just trying to make sure you have every opportunity available to you so you can do whatever you want in the real world and don’t look back and say, “if only…” because I guarantee at some point in your life you will have one of those moments.

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Posted by Taylor
a resident of Danville
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:23 am

I don't think that that is what she is getting at. We know parents don't mean to put pressure on us, but it does happen sometimes. I think that Corynn is completely right, on the fact that sometimes it does get hard as a student, son/daughter, athlete, thespian, and lots of other things to balance everything. This is a wonderful article Corynn! Keep writing! We love to read them!

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