Finding a Balance in High School


Grace Keeley, Staff Writer

High school can be a demanding time for students, there is always something on your plate. Whether it be academics, sports, or co-curriculars, it can be difficult to find time to fit in everything, in addition to your own free time and social schedule. As a high schooler, it is really important to find a balance for everything you have going on in your life. Although, this message of finding a balance can be overwhelming as it can constantly be bombarded at us throughout high school. But what does it even mean to find this balance? And when do we know when we have achieved it? Luckily, Visitation has many graduating seniors and alumni that have all experienced this struggle before and are willing to share their advice and own stories about this struggle. 

Firstly, when thinking about who I wanted to speak about this topic of balance with, I decided to reach out to our 2020-2021 Student Council President, Grace Conroy. Evidently, as a leader of the upper school, there are a lot of tasks that Grace has been asked to do in addition to the regular homework load of a senior making her very familiar with the art of maintaining her own personal balance. Grace talks about the important questions that she had to ask herself before making a decision to say yes to everything, she sees the importance of setting her own boundaries and doing activities for herself.

When talking about her own choices in extracurriculars and class registration Grace shares her own personal journey and advice to others, “The key for me in finding a balance between academics and extracurriculars was figuring out what was really fulfilling me. Over and over and over again I struggled with what I wanted to do, what I felt I ‘should’ be doing, and what I regretted stopping. It is incredibly important to have a very honest conversation with yourself and figure out: am I doing this for me? Or am I doing this for someone else/for a college resume? When I finally figured out what my true passions were, I realized that I no longer had such a difficult time managing my time. It didn’t feel like a chore to be going to activities, and I didn’t think of it as ‘lost’ time for doing homework or taking time for myself.”

Grace emphasizes how important, especially in high school years, it is to enjoy what you do. There are only so many hours in the day for you to do extracurriculars and do homework, why would you not fill that time taking classes you enjoy and doing activities that you always want to attend? Grace talks about the importance of doing activities for you. It’s so easy to become swayed by your friends or parents into doing activities just because others are doing it or because it would “look good for college” but those things aren’t really that important at this moment in time. What is important is maximizing your time in high school by spending it doing activities that bring you joy rather than just fulfilling what others think you need to do.

Grace leaves us with this advice, “ DO NOT let others’ actions determine what you do or don’t do. When you find those things you truly care about and want to make time for, you can take pride in them, and additionally, you’ll find far more joy in watching your peers participate in their activities, sports, and academics of choice.”

Another senior that has spent her high school years finding a balance at Visitation is Reece Bergeron. Reece, just like Grace, sees the importance of finding and maintaining a healthy balance in your high school years. Reece begins her advice to underclassmen about finding this balance by talking about the importance of reaching out to others for help. Reece says, “Prioritize your mental, physical, and emotional health. Reach out to teachers for assistance, because they want to help you.” We, as students, have created this belief that teachers are only at school to instruct and assign us homework. Although, this is totally false! As Reece says, teachers are there to support and help you through these overwhelming times, so use them as a resource. They can provide you with a fresh and much-needed perspective.

Additionally, Reece gives this unique piece of advice to the underclassman striving to find a balance in the coming years. She states, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life goes on, and if you do your best every day, then you should be proud. You can’t get an A on everything, and sometimes it’s just not worth the stress! Having a balanced life is more important than excelling in every category.” This piece of advice is crucial to remember in the coming years. As Reece mentioned, high school is a time for you to make yourself proud, not just those around you. Many times at Visitation, we create this pressure to be the best of the best in all of our endeavors. This expectation is unrealistic and can cause an abundance of stress and pressure on ourselves. So, rather than spreading ourselves too thin, find where your passions lie and begin to spend more time, energy, and effort on those specific things. 

In addition to Grace and Reece’s advice, Religion teacher and Visitation Alumni, Ms. Kranz, offers a valuable perspective on finding the right balance in your high school years, and beyond. It is inevitable that we will seem to be swamped with school work at some point in our high school career, it’s only natural. Even when it seems that you have found your perfect balance, these moments will happen. At these times it can feel almost impossible for you to maintain a healthy balance when there is so much to get done. Although, the greatest test is how you handle yourself in these situations where it seems like there is just so much to do that there is nowhere to begin. Ms. Kranz states, “A stitch in time really does save nine. Sometimes, it feels like I don’t even have time to slow down to take the extra few moments to reread that assignment or create an outline before starting to write a paper, but it is almost always worth the extra moments on the front end in saving time on the back end…When I feel like I can’t do ANYTHING, I set a timer for ten minutes and tell myself I can do ten minutes. Once I get grading papers or reading an assignment, I find it easier to keep going.  The first ten minutes are always the hardest.” These habits that Ms. Kranz proposes can be extremely beneficial in not only finishing that looming project or assignment but creating good quality work in a short amount of time; leaving more time to do the activities and hobbies that bring you joy. 

Let’s be real, this battle of finding a true balance, especially in high school, is something that we will always struggle with. There will always be conflicts in our calendars and there’s never really enough hours in the day to do everything. Although, as seen in Grace, Reece, and Ms. Kranz’s stories, it’s important to find what you enjoy doing and just stick with that. Above all, high school is a time to start finding and understanding yourself, what you need, what you benefit from, and what makes you happy. Begin to learn to spend time on the things that you love, rather than the things that everyone wants you to do.