Opinion: A guide to completing homework as a student-athlete

Anabela Cagen, Staff Writer

As a Seabury Hall student athlete who will be graduating in May of 2016, I have learned a few things about being able to complete homework while still fully participating in sports. Since my freshman year, I have participated in sports year round, been able to finish all of my homework, and still been able to enjoy my free time. Although these tips can be most helpful for student-athletes, they can also be helpful for other students with extracurricular activities.

1. Do not procrastinate!
Although this may seems like an easy option at the time, it is probably the worst thing you can do for yourself. If you procrastinate at the beginning of the school week, you have dug yourself a hole that will be difficult to get out of. It is hard enough to get all of your homework done without sports, but if you procrastinate on top of volleyball or football, it is all over. Personally, I play volleyball, and our practices do not end until after six. I shower and eat dinner as soon as I get home, so I usually do not start homework until 7:30 PM or later. As athletes, we have less time than other students to get our homework done, so it will not help your sleeping schedule or stress level to procrastinate.

2. Do your homework in order of your class schedule.
It is best to prioritize and work on your homework in the order of what classes you have the next day. Prioritizing your work is an efficient way to get all of your work done on time. Do not work on math homework if you do not have it the following day, because you are just wasting precious time when you could be finishing other homework that is due the next day or catching up on sleep. Although it may seem like you are getting ahead by doing work for another day, sleep is very important for a student-athlete.

3. Give yourself breaks.
Although you probably do give yourself more breaks than homework time, it is smart to give yourself a fifteen minute break after finishing one subject of homework. Normally, when I have a lot of reading for a history or science class, I will tell myself that I have to read so many pages before I can get up, take a break, and maybe have a snack if I am hungry. Make sure you give yourself a time limit on your breaks, or else you may be up until morning playing 10/10 or watching your favorite show on Netflix. When you set a goal and reward yourself with a break, which will cause you to work harder and faster to obtain that goal, so it causes you to get your homework done faster.

4. Finish homework during free blocks and study halls.
If you absolutely cannot finish some of your homework and you have a study hall or free block before that class, work on that homework right away to get it done. Student-athletes need to use their time wisely, even if that means missing out on the free time at lunch.

5. Working with friends can make things harder.
Although everyone loves their friends’ company, it is so much more difficult to get work done when you are around them. For volleyball, I often travel with my team, and I end up getting extremely distracted by my teammates. Even though it is usually impossible to get everyone to be quiet, just tell your friends that you have to focus or go find a quiet place to finish your work so you can join in on the fun with your friends/teammates.

Using all of these tips can help you to keep your grades up, decrease your stress level, and can allow you to spend your free time however you want. I look at following these rules as a way to give myself more time during the day and the weekend to be able to enjoy my free time and get more sleep. These tips help me do well in school, pursue my passion for volleyball, and enjoy my free time, and I hope that they can help you too.