Balancing sports, school, and social life with Brooke Pedersen

Lily Taylor

Pedersen passing her teammate the ball this past soccer season


It’s Sunday night at 11:45. Jr. Brooke Pedersen just got home from her volleyball tournament and is exhausted, but still has at least an hour of homework to do. She thinks, “I’ll just do it tomorrow”, but she can’t. She can’t because tomorrow is even busier than today and the day after that. Pedersen knows the longer she waits, the more her work will pile up. So she stays up until 1:30 am to complete her homework. Then, she has to wake up at 6:45 am for school and will not get home until around 9:45 pm just to do it all again the next day. A schedule like this may seem impossible, but Pedersen gets it done.  

   Pedersen participates in school volleyball, basketball, and soccer. Pedersen also plays club volleyball and soccer. If that is not enough, she is also taking AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, IB Spanish, and many other challenging classes. So how does she balance it all? Is over scheduling herself doing more harm than good? 

   An average day in Pedersen’s life in the fall involves seven hours of school, a two and a half hour volleyball practice followed by two hours of club soccer, and then most nights one to two hours of homework; not to mention showering, eating, and other daily tasks. This seems unachievable, but for Pedersen, it’s just normal life. 

   Pedersen’s situation is similar to so many students around the world. Trying to juggle sports, classes, extracurricular activities, work, and social events, many students feel overwhelmed and stressed. “Usually I get really stressed because I care a lot about school and my sports and doing well in both of them. So sometimes it can be a lot because I have to try and accomplish all my schoolwork and still do well in my sports”, Pedersen says. So why does she and so many other students decide to put so much on their plate? Pedersen works hard for her future.

   Although grades and athletics stay important, the social aspect of high school is also valuable. When having a busy schedule as she does, sometimes she has to make sacrifices. “A lot of times if I have friends who are doing something throughout the night or during the weekend I am not allowed to go because either I have a sporting event or have to use that time to do homework that I didn’t get to do throughout the week.” For example, Pedersen missed Snowball last winter because she had a volleyball tournament that she could not miss. Last weekend she also had to miss hanging out with her friends because she had a volleyball tournament. 

   But is this worth all the stress? Do the benefits outweigh the harms? Let’s look at someone who has been through the stress, late night study sessions, and missed out on social events from a busy schedule. Pedersen’s older sister, Grace, recently graduated from West Ottawa and now is a freshman at Grand Valley State University. Like Pedersen, Grace also played soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Similarly, she took AP and IB classes. Now that the stress of high school is over, I asked Grace, looking back at it all, if it was worth it. “I now have better time management and am able to do multiple things. This has allowed me once I got to college to join extracurricular activities and not be worried that I won’t do well in my college classes because I practiced this time management in high school.” Although Grace underwent a large amount of stress in high school, putting in the time and effort has overall helped her in the long run. 

   Even though Pedersen trades sleep for studying, and almost does not have enough hours in the day to complete what needs to be done, she says she wouldn’t change this. “I like to challenge myself. I really hope that I can go to a good college, so I think that taking challenging classes is good for me.” Pedersen also has a true passion for the sports she plays and wants to be the best she can be. If that involves year round practice, cramming in tests, late nights, and missing social events, she will make these sacrifices to improve. Although it can be tough, over-scheduling herself has been extremely rewarding. Pedersen has been on varsity for basketball and soccer and she plans to be on varsity for all three sports her junior year. She also has a 4.0 GPA. 

   For most people, a schedule like Pedersen’s is too hard to keep up with. But, for those who push themselves and try to fit in as much as possible, it is important to find a balance between school, sports, and social activities. Pedersen says, “If you work hard and use your time wisely, it will all work out in the end.”