Balancing academics and extracurricular activities at a boarding school can be a challenge, but it is also an important part of a great school experience. Students can explore their interests by being involved in extracurricular activities, picking up new skills, and building friendships along the way with other boarding schoolmates. At the same time, academics should always be a priority seeing as grades are often a crucial factor for college admissions. While extracurricular activities lay the foundation for a lifelong love for hobbies acquired during childhood, they also teach students necessary life skills which cannot be taught in a classroom.
7 effective tips to help you balance academics and extracurricular activities at a boarding school:
1. Time management is key –
Make a schedule and stick to it. Dedicate specific time slots for studying, completing homework, and participating in extracurricular activities. A schedule is foremost a great tool to prioritise your day and prioritise tasks. It allows one to focus on the most urgent ones first. Utilising time management techniques such as breaking large tasks into smaller chunks. The Pomodoro technique, or even using a planner can also be an effective tool for scheduling. It is also necessary to communicate with teachers and coaches about time commitments and seek their support in balancing academic and extracurricular responsibilities. This sets the tone for establishing a routine, and adhering to it, meeting deadlines in a timely fashion but most importantly being able to meet your commitments, which is an admirable quality to possess throughout life.
2. Prioritise your responsibilities –
Prioritising responsibilities in a boarding school can be somewhat intimidating due to the many demands on a student’s time. One way to prioritise responsibilities is to create a list of all the tasks and responsibilities you expect to have and rank them in order of importance. Not all extracurricular activities require equal attention or time for that matter. Consider the ones that are the most important to you and allocate enough time for them. You may find the need to cut back on some activities in order to make room for academics, and some much-needed rest for yourself too.
3. Seek help when needed –
One should not be afraid to ask for help when we are struggling to keep up with your coursework. Teachers, school counsellors, and supervisors are around to provide support and can offer extra help or guidance. Many students come to the hostel and struggle with making time to study. One can ask the team at the hostel to help you create a schedule if needed. The hostel will anyway allocate time for academics. You also need to be adequately refreshed, and relaxed to focus on studying, or homework. Teachers or tutors can clarify any misinformation, assist you in navigating the schedule, and most importantly recognise when you are unable to cope. Seeking help can improve mental health and reduce stress. By informing others about your struggles, you are able to get the needed advice and can go a long way in overall academic, mental and social well-being.
4. Take breaks and devote time for self-care –
Taking breaks helps you stay energised and focused during your academic pursuits. If you keep working or studying throughout the day, it’s not feasible to focus and learn well and can lead. The first important step in self-care is getting enough sleep, secondly, aiming to exercise regularly, and lastly engaging in hobbies or activities that you enjoy. This will also aid mental clarity, and productivity, and promote a sense of well-being.
5. Participate in extracurricular activities that align with your academic goals –
Choosing extracurricular activities that align with your academic goals can help you make the most of your time. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a career in science, participating in a science club or conducting research with a faculty member can be a great way to build skills and experience in your field of interest. While it’s great to be outcome-focused. At the same time, also find activities that are fun, without a goal attached, to balance your time out.
6. Discover new ways to manage academics –
There are often many ways to get involved in extracurricular activities without sacrificing your academic responsibilities. For example, you might be able to participate in an activity for a shorter period of time or find ways to delegate tasks to others. Some of the most premium boarding schools in the country, with a focus on great pastoral care, offer academic support services, such as study skill workshops and academic advisory.
7. Don’t be afraid to say no-
It’s important to be selective about the extracurricular activities that you choose to participate in. Say no to opportunities that do not fit into your schedule or that are not aligned with your goals. It’s completely acceptable to make choices about the way you spend time, rather than overextending yourself and committing to activities that don’t benefit you.