Junior year is a difficult year. Tensions run high, energy runs low. Students don’t sleep as much as they should. Yet they enroll in many rigorous classes, commit to multiple clubs and organizations, and participate in sometimes more than one sport. This load cannot be maintained for very long. Though IMSA students claim to have everything under control, deep down, they are drowning. They over-commit themselves, ending each day exasperated and longing for their beds, but knowing they have to stay up to finish an essay that’s due the next day or a problem set that they had not had the time to begin.
Why should juniors suffer though all this, when all they are doing is hurting themselves? While many students claim that sports help them manage their time better, I think otherwise. Sports take up valuable time that students could be using to work on group projects, study for tests, or finish up homework they end up doing at 2 A.M. Since most juniors are already walking zombies, how can sports be beneficial? They take away valuable time from juniors’ lives. Those two hours of practice could be the two crucial extra hours of sleep needed to have energy for the next day.
Everyone at IMSA understands the importance of physical fitness. Nevertheless, they do not realize that the time they are taking away from their studies to play a sport takes away from the time that they need to sleep and recover each day. During this recovery period, students’ bodies can go though the necessary process of reviving themselves for a new day. Most juniors stay up late enough so that their bodies do not get the chance to rest a sufficient amount, negatively affecting their lifestyles.
Sophomore year, everyone loved being in sports because they believed that it gave them a necessary break from their studies. Juniors cannot afford such breaks every day. Expectations for juniors are much higher than they were sophomore year, and that is reflected in the volume and the difficulty of the after-school assignments given to the students. With this work load that seemingly doubled over one summer, it is difficult to continue with the same extracurricular load as the year before. The problem is that juniors carry an extracurricular load almost twice as much as they did their sophomore year, minimizing the time they have for homework once again.
Another reason it’s more beneficial for sophomores to be in sports than juniors is because being on a team is a great way to make new friends and forge strong connections. Sophomores, being new to the school benefit from this significantly. On the other hand, juniors have already been at IMSA for a year, and forged many connections with their peers. Therefore, joining sports to familiarize themselves with more people is not as necessary for juniors as it is for sophomore athletes.
I have heard a great deal of junior peers complaining about being in a sport their junior year. Many even gave up that sport and decided to focus on their studies. Those who realized this necesssityearly enough were able to relieve themselves of the extra pressure and tension attributed to sports. Those who were not so lucky were stuck regularly complaining about being in that sport, wishing they had gotten out while they had the chance, but knowing it would be unsportsmanlike to abandon their team late in the season.
Therefore, from what I have observed, heard, and experienced, I believe juniors should not involve themselves in sports, if they are already committed to many other extracurriculars. Being on a sports team will only bring on more stress in their lives, and will serve the opposite purpose from what they were hoping to achieve when joining the sport, which is a healthy lifestyle. Without committing themselves to a sport, over-committed IMSA juniors would be able to focus much more on their needed studies, and less on exerting their energy so much that they barely have the energy to finish their homework, ending up asleep on their Calculus books.
Editor’s note: Do you agree with her argument? Juniors, do you think you have benefited or simply been more stressed by participating in a sport? Seniors, do you think you should have (or shouldn’t have) participated in a sport your junior year?