Club Chaos: Some School Activities Should Start Before School

By Hannah Siegel

At many schools, but more specifically at South, students are involved in numerous clubs, sports, and school related help after school. For many students, the time from 2:45 to around 4:30 is a time of chaos and anxiety—they are trying to be in too many places in too little time. To help create a less stressful environment after school, clubs should meet before school from 7:00 to 7:45.
Having all activities after school is very convenient and sounds seemingly manageable. But when one is involved in more than one of these activities, the anxiety and the stress become apparent. Even if students are able to break up their time between clubs, they have not fully dedicated themselves to these clubs because they are worried about attending their next activity.  For example, in addition to the cross-country and track and field teams, I am also involved in The Southerner and Soul Sisters. Some days I have all of these activities, as well as an extra help session that I would like to attend. Although it is extremely difficult to break up my time between these activities, even when I do, I find myself frantically calculating the time until I run off to my next activity and explain to my advisor why I am late. Not only does this cause me great stress, but also it upsets me that I am not able to dedicate the amount of time I would like to activities that I am passionate about.
In addition to this drawback, having many activities after school induces great stress on children. In many cases advisors are less than enthusiastic about “sharing” their advisees with other activities.. For example, my friend who is on varsity lacrosse is involved in many activities including Science Olympiad, The Southerner, and the Debate Team. When she comes late to lacrosse, a usual penalty is running extra laps. If this lateness becomes consistent, she could be benched for a portion or even a whole game. Because of this conflict in activities, she is not able to get the playing time she deserves and is worried and stressed about the next time she comes late. Similarly, students may want to attend extra-help but cannot because they are too busy, or are concerned about being reprimanded by an adviser. This could directly hurt their school grades and discourage students from attending extra help.
One way to solve this ongoing problem would be to move one of the three main activities that occur after school to before school hours: clubs. This component would be the easiest to move because—in general—it takes the least amount of time. If clubs were in the morning, students would have fewer conflicts and would be much less stressed after school. They would be able to relax and dedicate this time to just one club and not have to worry about missing that sports game after school or being late for that extra help session. Therefore, attendance at club meetings would increase. In addition, now students would be more inclined to attend extra-help after school, which could increase their grades. Overall, having clubs before school would benefit many students who have struggled balancing their schedules.
Another group this change could benefit are the advisers. Although club meetings in the morning may not be the most convenient for all teachers, the ones who could attend would be pleased to have their activities before school. This way, teachers could leave earlier from school and would avoid any after school conflicts on their schedules as well.
While after school activities may be convenient for some, students who participate in sports and those who want to attend extra-help run into trouble here. Running back and forth from one activity to another causes much anxiety for students and does not allow them to devote their full attention to one activity. If clubs were before school, however, students would have a new block of time to concentrate on just one activity without the concern for missing other activities.