Welcome to the Life of a Teen Athlete with Extra Responsibilities

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Written by: Jaedin Turner, Social Media Manager

Beep, beep. Beep, beep. The sound of your alarm clock pierces through the once quiet, peaceful room you fell asleep in. Looking around, you vaguely remember getting off of work late, coming home and trying to keep your eyes open long enough to finish your pre-calc homework and realize you fell asleep in the middle of question 14. Your homework is due today and you have an important quiz in history that you’re just now remembering about. You think, ‘I really should have taken the night off of work last night, then I wouldn’t be so behind right now.’ However, it’s too late and you need to make it through the school day so you can attend work once again tonight.

One out of every five high school students, freshman through seniors, have a job according to childtrends.org. Playing a sport while also focusing on your studies, social life and job is a real challenge in today’s world. Just ask junior Isabella Zarate who played tennis at the same time as working at Daylight Donuts located in Basehor as well as managing her schoolwork. 

“Two of my classes that require the most work this semester are Algebra II and College U.S. History. I spend around 2-3 hours outside of class working on those classes and I was only working 10-13 hours per week.,” said Zarate.

Practices for tennis were Monday-Friday, 3:30-5:00 p.m. with two tournaments on average per week, ranging from weekdays and weekends, mornings and afternoons. Junior Lily Heller is a manager at Chick Fil A, also known as a team leader. Heller works 20-30 hours per week while playing volleyball this fall and being enrolled in College Public Speaking, Honors American Literature, College U.S. History, and A.P. Chemistry. Heller spends four hours minimum on homework every night as well.

“The hardest thing about my job is learning how to balance my school, work and family life. Usually, I get home from work at around 11:00 p.m. and then I still have homework to do once I get home. There are some days I’m up all night just trying to get caught up enough to be able to participate in class the next day. It’s really exhausting trying to balance everything especially when I’m lifting in the mornings and closing almost every night. And that’s not even taking into consideration my family and friends. I have little to no time to spend with my friends or family and that takes its toll as well,” said Heller.

There are only so many hours in each day and it can be a challenge to find enough time to complete all the necessary assignments, work and maintain a social life. This makes it extremely easy to fall behind in school and hard to maintain a social life. 

“I have fallen behind in my classes especially in the studying category because once I get all of the assignments done, I have to go to work or to practice, giving me little to no time to study for my upcoming tests. I definitely feel that my social life has taken a hit due to my job and sports that I am in.  There are only a select few days that I am free, and most of the time on those days I am trying to get caught up on schoolwork or get some extra practice for my sport and there is very little time for me to be with my friends,” said Heller.

In total, there are 120 hours during the week. Heller spends 25 of them working and 20 doing homework, after the 35 she already spends either on Zoom or in the school building. This leaves forty hours, however, this doesn’t account for the amount of time she spends sleeping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers should get a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, leaving Heller with five hours for socializing with friends or catching up with her family. How did Heller have the time when she had to attend practice and games daily? How is this healthy for our teens?