AP and Extracurricular Time Management


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Justin Shirazian arrives home at 8pm after a long day of school and extracurricular activities. He decides that he needs to rest but still has several assignments that need to be finished. After Justin is done resting, he starts his assignments but due to his heavy workload, he stays up until 1am completing something that he felt could’ve been done earlier.

Justin now is deprived of sleep for the next day of school and is stressed from a lack of time to get his work done in a timely manner. This cycle repeats itself as he goes through his typical day at school, extracurriculars, and at-home obligations.

Many students at Taft suffer from this problem. Students, especially those with honors and AP courses, are unable to manage their time properly. These courses are very demanding and adding extracurriculars alongside their schedule only worsens the issue.

“It’s pretty difficult cause teachers give you work and expect a lot out of you. I usually get really busy and I don’t have time to work on things the same night.” Daniel Edery, a Taft Junior, said.

The lack of time management skills becomes more serious as it even starts to affect the overall health of Taft students.

“When the workload gets too much and you have other obligations to complete, it starts to take a toll on what you took for granted, like your sleep, you’re not eating as much. It’s a bunch of that.” Justin Shirazian, a Taft senior, explained.

According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, over 87 percent of students get less than eight hours of sleep regularly. Another study from the Sleep in America poll showed that students get up to only 7.6 hours of sleep on average. This data reveals that most students are missing nearly two hours of the recommended 9 to 10 hours of rest. Additionally, the lack of sleep from the data was linked to the intense pressure from school, high expectations, extracurriculars, and students taking several advanced classes.

Some students and teachers recommended ideas to aid those who aren’t able to manage their time with rigorous classes or extracurriculars. One student suggested that students should make a to-do list and to take notice of signs of procrastination.

“Make a schedule for yourself and don’t stress over things. A lot of the time, if you stress over one assignment, it takes longer to complete.” Daniel Edery suggested.

Ms. Ayvazian, an Honors English teacher, stated that students should know their capabilities and limits. She believes that students should learn to prioritize “being a student” instead of out-of-school activities.

When students were asked whether teachers should take time management more seriously, many of them had opposing views. One student felt that teachers should not take this issue seriously because students have to manage “their own time” while another student felt teachers should understand that students are taking other AP classes too and they should be able to request make-ups or extensions for missing assignments.

The teachers that shared their thoughts on the issue were aware of poor time management skills with their students. They believe that this is a real and common issue at Taft.

“They don’t realize how much time they have to spend studying and practicing.” Ms. Ayvazian said. “It just seems to be this vicious cycle of studying late at night, being tired, and having things to do. “

Ms. Ayvazian suggested that Taft should start a school-wide plan to teach students how to manage their time. She wants them to start learning these skills as early as 9th grade to prepare them not only for high school but also for college.

“I remember one of my graduate professors really taught me how to manage my time with projects because she had parts of the assignments due all along the way contributing to the whole that way it wasn’t overwhelming producing all the material at once.” Ms. Ayvazian added.

Mr. Connors-Long, the AP U.S. and World History teacher, came up with a similar plan where students should be prepared with good time management skills throughout their K-8 years to make the “transition into highschool more manageable”. He also added that these skills will benefit other aspects of their lives such as working a job or doing tasks at home.

Since this problem has also affected the grades of some students, teachers have presented ways to assist them. Some teachers provide extensions through parent communication or upon request. They may also adjust deadlines if they feel their expectations are “unrealistic.”

Mr. Connors-Long feels that establishing expectations and standards is still equally important for students to develop time management skills. Without deadlines or expectations put in place, students will not be able to work on these skills effectively.

“How we prioritize our time in relationship to the tasks that we have in front of us is a universal skill for success in all elements of life,” Mr. Connors-Long said.