By Mary Madelyn Broom
At Oak Hall School, many students are involved with more than just the average school day, which leads to lots of time filled with various activities. It is a blessing to have all of the opportunities available at Oak Hall, but it also begs the question of what is too much for students, and what skills do students need to be able to manage any available time? Oak Hall Upper School student, Kenzie*, appreciates the skills that she is learning at school, but feels overwhelmed with the responsibilities put on her. “I put a lot of pressure on myself,” she said. She also noted that she understands that her time at Oak Hall is preparation for the real world, but wished there was a better way for students to not only learn the material and understand the workload, but to learn the techniques to be able to handle the numerous daily assignments and studying of materials nightly. Kenzie recalls her previous school year, which she described as “really stressful” due to the increasing importance on grades. Despite all of the stress endured, Kenzie feels prepared for college and now has a better appreciation for the available time that she does have. “I’ve started reading more during my free time,” she mentioned.
Upper School Learning Specialist Michael Fernandes believes that “getting and staying organized is one of the best ways for students to manage time.” He agrees that students are experiencing “more and more stress as college admission has become increasingly competitive” but hopes to alleviate that stress by helping students. Beyond basic skills of organizing and time management, Fernandes emphasizes one of the most important skills a student can learn is self-discipline, because it renders all other skills useless without it. If you are just starting on your lesson to managing time well, Fernandes suggests beginning with small steps, such as using a folder system to keep track of assignments or a planner system to mark dates for events with deadlines.
For parents who want to help their children learn the skills of time management, Fernandes advises that they can “help develop time management in their children in a variety of ways” including:
- Sitting down with their child to discuss age-appropriate time management.
- Pointing out to their children potential pitfalls they might experience in trying to manage their time.
- Acting as a guiding force, periodically checking in with their children to see how they are doing with time management, making sure to give them enough room to make some mistakes and then learn from them.
For students, the key to dealing with stress is “to not suffer in silence,” Fernandes said. If you are dealing with a busy few days, taking the time to settle your mind with a few breaths or quiet minutes, as both techniques can work wonders. If the stress feels more significant and overwhelming, Fernandes encourages students to “let a trusted adult know about their situation” because they will have more resources to help.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those interviewed