Finding a balance: having longer due dates for student athletes

Lyn Howe and Kaylee Davison, student athletes study before practice knowing they wont have time later.
Lyn Howe and Kaylee Davison, student athletes study before practice knowing they won’t have time later.
Sophia Walker

Being a student-athlete is a huge commitment, as it becomes hard to find time for yourself. Due to this commitment, there are a lot of sacrifices that are made when joining a sport as a high school student; as school work and other personal matters can get in the way, this results in many teens finding themselves being anxious.

A student working hard to pass her big test last minute didn’t have time because of her sport. (Sophia Walker)

According to “At least half of mental health issues begin by age 14 and 75% of those same issues begin by age 24”. It gets complicated when student-athletes are in AP classes, making it almost unfair when these athletes get marked 50% off their assignments if it’s turned in late due to practices and games.

Individually students go through their own problems but when school and sports are added, it becomes a tangled mess to stay on top of the work. No matter how much one tries to manage their time, at the end of the day, there isn’t enough time to complete everything. “I’ll try to make schedules for myself, so I’ll try at least one hour of my AP, and then one hour on math […] I’m in my room for like six hours, I don’t spend a lot of time doing stuff I enjoy” mentions Lyn Howe, a student-athlete that has to juggle between two AP classes (AP World and AP Bio), being one year ahead in Spanish, honors English, and being in two different sports; Track and Cross Country.

How Come Student-Athletes Are Stressed?

When entering a new grade comes new expectations as teachers require more from their students. In a survey conducted by the The Grizzly Gazette, Noa; three out of six GV students who aren’t involved in sports admit to feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done in such a short amount of time. However, another group of students, who are athletes, have to manage between their classes and sports; five out of six of them admit to feeling overwhelmed. Student-athletes rarely have time to focus on things they enjoy doing, not to mention constantly focusing on due dates or more than one thing- “It’s not a good way to live. […] You have to be able to do things you enjoy because otherwise it’s just work and that’s what drives people to the anxieties and depression, ” mentions Audrey Tait, another student-athlete who is involved in Track, Cross country, school soccer, club soccer, two AP classes (AP Bio and AP World), and she is in Honors English. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “This ongoing worry and tension may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as restlessness, feeling on edge or easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension or problems sleeping”.

“I like club soccer, but it takes up a lot of time and it’s difficult to manage that and the school work that everyone gives me” say’s Tait. Already being involved in one sport gets in the way of other things, especially when that athlete is committed. Their main focus is constantly on getting better, and working hard; eventually, that becomes draining.
* (club soccer is soccer just played outside of school, meaning Audrey plays soccer in a club).

Student Athlete having to skip practice to do homework. (Sophia Walker)

Audrey was able to share a little bit about her schedule: “I go to club practice after school, […] and then I do homework […] For club soccer, it’s usually two hours long but my coach tends to go over”. Students barely get home to fully relax until seven to nine P.M. In some cases such as Tait, who gets home even later, it results to less time being able to complete homework, meaning that more assignments could potentially be turned in late. “I’m able to get work done but I stay up later- […] around eleven ish if I can ” mentions Tait.

Lyn Howe mentions how everything catches up to her, as she realizes that the day is still not over for her “At the end of the day I’m already like so sucker punch from social, emotional, everything from classes and it’s hard […] to have all that happen and then still spend time on homework”. Being home should be a time of relaxation for student-athletes, to get a break from a full day of working hard, and yet they have homework, unfinished assignments, and projects.

What Do They Need?

“It’s frustrating, but […] when a person is giving you a reasonable amount of time to finish an assignment […] Then I understand how a teacher could be like ‘I’m not giving you this extra time when you had all this time to complete it, and the only reason it’s late is because you waited till the last minute’” say’s Howe. As much as even students admit that a due date is a due date, and it’s important to know how to turn things in on time, students still ask for some more flexibility from teachers. After confirming with Audrey she believes that “We (student athletes) don’t have much time to do homework, we’re always at practice, and we’re working hard; we have less time than most students do”.

Samantha Rivera was late to dance practice because she got caught up in work. (Sophia Walker)

Teachers are well aware of student athletes’ cases yet it still seems as if student-athletes aren’t being treated with any sort of empathy and understanding. It could hugely affect student athletes when they ask for a day or two of extension without being marked 50 % off of their assignments, especially when extra credit is not available to try and replace the bad grade, or missing assignment; it therefore leads to students slacking off more.

But there can still be some sort of encouragement, by balancing life with enjoyment and work. Lyn encourages teenagers around her who suffer from these struggles to “Do a hobby, do something that makes you happy, so you don’t feel like your entire life is controlled by school and work”. Perhaps putting less on one shoulder, and making time for yourself if that person can find the time, it could relieve all that stress, on top of that being more flexible and understanding, especially with student-athletes who have a hard time managing the little time they have, could give them a chance to being more successful mentally and physically.

About the Contributors
Noa Prothais, Staff Writer
Noa Prothais is in 10th grade, she is bilingual in French and english. She is a staff writer on the Sports News Team for the Grizzly Gazette. Outside of school work Noa is part of the XC and Track team, and after school she does ballet. She's on varsity for both Track and XC and has been doing ballet for almost 9-10 years. After only doing track for a few months last year she went to CIF. Being an athlete she’s very passionate about writing sports so that she can hopefully share the journey of individual teams or student athlete, she wants to be able to share about personal records and team environment to encourage the respect and time it takes to commit to a sport, she’d also like to write about student spotlight stories or CEPAT, because it involves more than one topic. She really wants to be part of the grizzly gazette to learn more about this profession to hopefully pursue this in the future. She loves writing, running, and dancing, occasionally drawing.
Sophia Walker, Staff Writer
Sophia Walker is a Staff Writer  for the Sports New Team on the Grizzly Gazette and she is in her last year of highschool. She's very passionate about writing about campus activities, student spotlight stories and community issues because she wants to be involved with everything that is happening and to be able to share what needs to be shared which is very important to her. Being a part of the Grizzly Gazette to her is extremely important because there is so much that is going on and all people need to be educated with everything in the world and our community which is very diverse and different. She loves journaling, writing their thoughts and making poems with what happens to make her feel better and researching common things going on to learn more. She also loves helping people and leading them in any way she can, she strives to help and understand anyone. She has had many hobbies including hockey, dance, tennis, volleyball, and acting. Eventually I would love to be a therapist or counselor for families, relationships, and or with any people in need of help or support.