The Stress of Combining AP Classes and Sports


Aidan Walsh

Most students believe AP classes are their tickets to college and a degree, yet many don’t realize the struggle of also trying to play a sport they love at the same time. 

Students at Novato High and nationwide combine AP classes with busy sports schedules. These collide greatly.  High school sports require a huge amount of attention due to consistent practices and games. The majority of sports at Novato High School have practice every day, usually after school or an hour after classes get out. Most of the upperclassmen AP classes give a large amount of homework every night, allowing students little to no time after or before their desired sport to get their schoolwork done. 

If you ask most students at Novato High what time they go to bed, you shouldn’t be surprised when you receive answers that are past midnight due to the workload they are given and the activities they undergo. Eight hours of sleep is a fantasy for most.

Junior Seamus Busby talked about his struggles of dealing with his two AP classes while playing water polo.

 “It’s time consuming,” said Busby. “I stay up till about 3 a.m. every night and I’m kind of getting sick and tired of it.” 

Many of these students don’t even end up doing the work as they don’t have time to complete it all and get a good night’s rest. 

Busby provided more input when asked if he finished his homework most of the nights. 

“Absolutely not,” said Busby. “I have three to four hours every night.”

Obligation and personal pressure come into play for the students that feel the need to put themselves into these classes in order to go to their desired college. Yes, it helps, but can it be worth it for the toll it takes on your mental and physical health? 

Junior Jackson Callahan talked about dealing with mental health and managing the two together.

“They have affected my mental health by definitely stressing me out more with managing my homework and practice times,” Callahan said. “It’s just taught me to manage my time better overall.”

Every person is different, which means there are individual ways of dealing with these stressors. Junior Isabella Xu described how she’s dealt with her AP classes and sports throughout her time at NHS.

“For a while I didn’t, I played volleyball, so I had practice right after school, get home at 6, shower, eat, and do homework,” Xu said. “I just have to prioritize which work I need to do most, but I didn’t do well in my AP classes. There’s no time.”

Many students experience what Xu discussed. Students often prioritize by working on what they feel is most important. This does not mean no work at all for certain classes, but trying to cram in unnecessary work often creates more stress and less sleep. 

Not everyone is getting A’s and playing the sport they love at the same time as it almost seems like an impossible feat. Quite simply, students just need to do what they love and also what they feel they need to. 

If you think AP classes are the only ticket to a prestigious college, then do it, but don’t let that prevent you from playing and focusing on the sport you love. 

High school students need to understand the sacrifices that come along with filling their schedules. A large amount of teens would much rather be hanging out with friends or playing video games, but combining AP classes and sports might not allow them the time to do what is truly desired. Sacrifices are one of the many necessities of having these two things in your life but there are upsides as well, including admission to better colleges and better opportunities in sports. 

Students need to manage their time, know their limits and not feel pressure to go above and beyond, especially if it truly takes away from focusing on what you love.