How Stuy Athletes Manage Their Time

In such an academically rigorous environment, how do athletes at Stuyvesant juggle their academic and extracurricular commitments?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Nada Hameed

Wake up at 6:30 a.m. Brush your teeth, get dressed, and leave the house. Maybe stop at the McDonald’s next to Stuyvesant for a hashbrown at 7:30 a.m. if you get there in time.

8:00 a.m. - 3:35 p.m.: Lectures, readings, tests, and more tests. Stuyvesant is a battleground hosting the brightest kids in NYC, so you better prove you belong.

3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.: It’s time for a film session. Your coach runs through clips of last night’s game, picking apart details and explaining sports theory as if it’s your 11th period class. You’re mentally exhausted by now, but the day is far from over.

5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Late practice in the gym. As you run laps, you question what you’ve gotten yourself into, but the scrimmage at the end of practice makes it all worth it. Before you know it, it’s time to head back home.

8:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.: If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll finish your dinner, study, and do your homework quick enough to sleep “early.”

Rinse and repeat.

That schedule is what daily life is like for a student-athlete at Stuyvesant. Everyone knows that the academic workload at Stuy is no joke, but add it to a sports team’s heavy commitment with two-hour practices six days a week, and it gets that much harder. The physical and mental exhaustion that this combination produces is one of the hallmarks of the “authentic Stuy experience,” but it comes with a crash course in expert time management. After all, how else would you be able to transition straight from grueling physical exercise to studying for your math final the next day? Let’s see what several student-athletes have learned.

During several seasons as a three-sport athlete at Stuy, senior Phillip Phan has picked up some valuable experience. “I use my time in school as efficiently as possible. I like going to the library during my frees and even during lunch sometimes. When I get home from practice, often I find it hard to focus, so I choose to sleep earlier and wake up earlier in the morning to do my work, which has helped me a lot,” he said. Most student athletes at Stuy treat free periods as gold, trying to get as much homework done as possible before school ends. However, in a more unorthodox form of time management, Phan cites sleeping earlier to do his homework in the morning as a tested trick to work more efficiently.

“During the season, I try to cut out any other commitments that aren’t directly related to football or academics. Anything else comes secondary so that I can put as much energy into those two as possible,” junior and football player Manlio Singh said on the same topic of time management. It seems obvious, but students often spread themselves too thin under the pressure they place on themselves. Especially during PSAL, one of the most extensive extracurricular commitments Stuy offers, it’s crucial to focus all your efforts on what’s most important to you—your team and your grades.

“When we go to meets, we bring our homework because we usually stay there for hours at a time, so we might as well be productive. We even talk to each other about our tests during our practice runs,” junior and cross country runner Kaitlin Ho said. “Basically, studying while doing the sport is a big thing.” Stuy student-athletes have found ways to integrate their academic workload into as many pockets of free time they can find. For sports such as distance running, these strategies may work.

If participating in the PSAL sounds scary to you after reading this article, don’t be afraid! As a student-athlete myself, I have to say that the adrenaline of making your first shot on the basketball court or passing the finish line as a culmination of months of work far outweighs the merits of some extra sleep. And the whole “rigorous time management” thing isn’t that hard once you get used to your new lifestyle. It can be a sacrifice, but participating as a student-athlete at Stuyvesant can be one of the best experiences of your life. Not only can you meet so many like-minded students and friends, but you can also learn time management skills that will thoroughly prepare you for life in college and beyond. However, it’s essential to survive this challenge before you can look back at it and laugh, so make sure you get comfortable with a rhythm or daily schedule that will prepare you for success as a student-athlete.