Finding Balance, Beating Burnout
There are some who say that high school will be the best time of your life. This may have been true in decades past, but nowadays, high schoolers have to face down a tremendous amount of stress.
Everyone wants to do well in school so that they can attend a great college, but being accepted to the college of your dreams takes a lot more than excelling at academics.
You need to also have a long list of extracurriculars and volunteer experience to supplement your GPA.
Meanwhile, many high school students take part-time jobs to start saving up money for college and incidental expenses, maybe even to buy a car that they’ll be taking with them after graduation.
When all is said and done, an ambitious high school student may not have any free time at all, getting home, exhausted, very late at night just to fall asleep immediately and be awake and ready for another day of school 5 hours later.
This strenuous routine can very easily lead to burnout and a whole host of other mental and physical problems, which will, in turn, jeopardize everything from your schoolwork to your job, eliminating all the progress you’ve made.
To help prevent burnout, this article will explain how to balance work and school in high school. It isn’t as difficult as it might seem, but it does require careful attention to your own wellbeing and open communication with the people in your immediate circle.
Assess Your Needs and Set Your Goals
First, you’ll need to figure out what you need to stay healthy and what your ultimate academic and career goals are.
For example, ask yourself how many hours of sleep you need each night to stay healthy. Professionals recommend that teens get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night to function at their best.
Of course, depending on your schedule, this just might not be possible. Try to find a compromise that works for you, and one that lets you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re not neglecting your family or friends. Even if they understand the need for your busy schedule, you should still make an effort to spend time with them. You’ll get to relax with loved ones while also letting them talk about what they’ve been up to lately.
Next up, what are your goals for your academic future? How many activities do you need to take part in to get into the school you’ve been looking at? Feel free to contact the college in question and ask what they tend to look for in prospective students.
If getting into your chosen college is your most important goal, then you may need to resign from your part-time job.
Depending on your own needs and your ultimate goals, you’ll most likely need to make adjustments to your routine to achieve your goals while also staying happy and healthy.
It all starts with you. You get to set your own priorities and decide how you want to spend your time outside of school.
However, as a general rule, academics should always be your main priority. Always make sure that you have plenty of time to complete your school work and contribute to group projects.
At all times, be open and communicative with your teachers and superiors at work.
Talk to Your Teachers
Asking for special treatment from teachers should only ever be a last resort. But it’s never a bad idea to let your teachers know more about your situation before problems arise.
If you need extra help or tutoring in a specific subject, feel free to ask. Your teacher may not be able to provide the extra help but will often point you to other resources you can access in the school or through external means.
Talk to Your Boss
Part-time jobs are coveted for the flexibility they offer. Chances are you’re not hoping to get a big promotion, just to make some extra money before you graduate.
If your job is getting in the way of your academics and your wellbeing, sit down with your boss or supervisor and explain the problem.
In most cases, you’ll be able to trim back your hours so that you have more free time for homework or relaxation.
Part-time jobs aimed at teenagers tend to be easy to find, and if you decide that you need to step away, it won’t be the end of the world.
Ask for Advice from People You Trust
Despite your best efforts, there may be times when you feel completely stuck, like you just can’t push yourself any further. It may feel like the walls are closing in fast and that there’s no way out.
When you start to feel this way, reach out to someone you trust. It could be a parent, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or even a close friend.
First and foremost, they may be able to give you some helpful advice about what your next move should be or give you some perspective on what’s really important.
If they don’t have any specific advice, they’ll still be available to listen to your problems, which can sometimes be more valuable than anything.
Find Time to Relax
For ambitious students, relaxation can seem incredibly unimportant. On the surface, relaxation doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s just a waste of time, time that could have better spent researching colleges or writing another draft of your application letter.
In reality, relaxation should be an important part of anyone’s daily routine. Working hard is important, but working too hard can have negative effects.
Try to leave yourself at least two hours each day when you don’t need to do anything at all. You can try out some deep breathing exercises or just watch some of your favorite TV shows.
Your career is a marathon, and you can’t win a marathon by sprinting for the entire route. Take time to appreciate the moment, where you are right now.