The Secret to Having It All

Algebra and American history are not the only things students learn in their four years of high school.  Among studying literary terms and dimensional analysis, high school students also acquire skills essential to developing relationships with other students.  Friendships, passions, and goals eventually change after high school graduation, but time management is a skill acquired in high school that will determine how one deals with situations and stress for the rest of their life.

Having two hours of homework in all five subjects every night amounts to significant stresses for high school students; who must also combine school responsibilities with extracurricular activities.  For some, such multitasking does not seem so hard.  Many even envy those who continuously receive exceptional grades while managing to participate in a sport every day after school.  Their secret: time management.

On a scale from one to ten, most students rate their own time management and organization skills at an average of seven.  The majority of these students also maintain a high grade point average while participating in after school activities.

Think back to the early days of Freshman year when the guidance counselors taught lessons on how to create effective time management habits.  Remember those little green books with the Pentucket emblem sketched in the front?  Well, those “little books” are like gold when creating effective organization skills and managing time between homework and after school activities.

Past the seventy pages of detailed school policies are weekly calendars designed especially for high school students.  Each week not only contains boxes designated for daily homework, but also incorporates columns to chart sports games, play practices, and doctors’ appointments.  A check list is even provided alongside each line for homework so that students can track what has already been completed and what remains to be done.  Aside from the inspirational quotes and study habit tips scattered across the pages, the best part about the agenda books, is that it is a complementary gift from the guidance counselors at Pentucket, free of charge.

However, when asked about specific methods of organization, few students admitted to using their agenda book religiously.

“I actually don’t use [my agenda book] that much,” says Maddie Binding, a sophomore in all honors classes who manages soccer practice every day after school in addition to homework.
Some students, such as sophomore Jon Holewinski prefer using Schoolloop as their primary source for homework organization.  Jon admits that Schoolloop is not always a reliable reference, but also says he “never” uses his agenda book.

However, sophomore Emmy Maye Desjardins is one student who “writes everything” in her agenda book and utilizes this time management and organization tool every day.

While some students rely solely on their agenda book for homework completion, it is rendered as a hinder to others.  This may be because although the agenda book has many resources designed specifically for the high school student, it cannot control procrastination.

Procrastination is an unnecessary evil that controls the majority of high school students, whether they maintain an A+ or D average.  Students like Emmy, who “do not set aside a specific amount time for homework every night” risk being bitten by the procrastination bug.  With so much school work completed online, students risks distractions from social networking sites.  The presence of such procrastination can turn one simple task into an hour long process.

Those who procrastinate (most high school students) risk another impairment, having to prioritize.  Although prioritizing necessary assignments before others is a key component in developing successful time management skills, students tend to put themselves in positions where they prioritize health last.

Maddie finds that she sacrifices sleep and free time because of the work load school and sports puts on her.  “I try to be the best student I can be and study hard,” says Maddie.  Unfortunately, prioritizing homework and studying typically leads to her getting less hours of sleep every night.

Jon also finds himself sacrificing free time while Emmy, who recently experienced a concussion, believes she also prioritizes school and homework over her own health.

Whether it is only taking thirty minutes to study for the chemistry test, opposed to an hour, or taking an hour jog between studying, it is important that students prioritize the  things that are necessary for their health.  However, prioritizing video games and social networking before school work can cause the poor time management habits that prohibit students from reaching their full potential.  Ranking assignments and even basic life components, such as health, school, family, social life, etc., according to individual and personal importance is the most essential step in becoming an organized student.