Finding balance at FHC


Student-athletes all across the country will find themselves with a large amount of schoolwork and may encounter issues in having time to complete the work. FHC is no different with many students obtaining GPAs in the 3.5 range or higher. 

Senior and varsity tennis captain Chris Shang is enrolled in multiple AP classes along with leading a successful tennis team. Chris finds himself under a decent amount of stress. 

I usually had all five hours on weekdays for homework and other things after practice,” Chris said. “Although it feels like a lot of time, with all the work I had this season, it was sometimes stressful, especially on match days when I had even less time.”

Seven hours at school can be draining for a student, but a student who is also an athlete typically adds 2-3 hours in addition to that. Many parents have demanded less work. Other parents might say the coaches expect too much practice time from their players. There are two sides to this dilemma, but it only affects one person and that is the student. 

Three-sport athlete Sam Sneider plays lacrosse, football, and basketball throughout his school year. Like Chris, Sam is also enrolled in several AP classes and has maintained a high GPA. If a student-athlete commits to three sports such as Sam, he or she must have a high level of love for each sport.

“I would like to have less homework,” Sam said. “However, if I were to have to sacrifice practice time I would not be happy. I would much rather play sports than do nothing at all.”

Something many people don’t account for is the amount of school that can be missed due to the sport. Of course, depending on the sport, this time varies. Take the varsity tennis team for example; the team often had to travel to matches and even had the players had to miss classes during the school day while they were competing. All classes, regardless of regular or AP courses, have varying levels of work tied to them. Whether it be a brief worksheet or a thick exam review packet, falling behind can be detrimental to a student-athlete’s mental health and happiness. 

“It was a struggle to make up the work I missed,” Chris said. “Every day after that felt like a crunch.”

As teacher and coach Brad Anderson would say, “The FHC Dance Team is the hardest working team in the state of Michigan.” This is entirely true considering the season starts in the late summer and ends in the spring. So, how easy is it to balance school and a rigorous dance schedule? 

Varsity dancer Kaylin Scheuneman discussed how she balances her schoolwork and dance practice. Dance practice occurs two to four times a week for only about one to two hours at a time. The grueling part is that it is all year long and that doesn’t include the competitive season.

I’m taking pretty easy classes this year, so it is nice to not have loads of homework, but some nights are still hard with dance and then studying for a test the next day,” Kaylin said.

Student-athletes need to have a great love for their sports to be successful. As stated previously, parents sometimes ask if this much practice is even necessary. Should kids be practicing every day after school?

“I think practicing every day is necessary if you and your team want to succeed,” Chris said. “Practice isn’t the main cause of stress for me during my sports season; instead, the excessive amount of matches that tennis has is what causes me to feel overwhelmed at times.” 

High school can be some of the most difficult years of a student’s life, and a reason attributed to that could be the academic workload that is given along with the commitment that the sport requires. Some people can’t live without playing some sort of sport. 

However, with the correct motivation, any student should be able to keep a decently high GPA along with being able to improve in his or her sport. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though. Students such as Kaylin, Sam, and Chris should be examples of how to balance academics and sports. Keep studying and practicing FHC.