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Dealing with a Busy Student Schedule

Sponsored by the Swiss International School

As I reflect on this past year, I think about everything I have achieved and learned, and many of these things have been done outside of regular classes. Managing my time to complete all homework and assessments, plus outside activities, has sometimes been a stretch. 

I am in the Qatar Youth Choir, where we rehearse around six hours a week,  or more when there are important events coming up, plus an hour of music theory and private voice coaching lessons. I also have to prepare for exams in music theory, singing and choir. In addition, my school has a performing arts club where, this year, we practised for the school's first musical. Students in the club had the choice of being in the show or being in charge of backstage, sound, or lighting crew. I played a character in the musical Annie, which required many extra rehearsals during lunch, after school or on the weekend. 

Another activity I take part in is The Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme, where we learn about survival skills, take part in service projects, and do an adventurous journey activity to the desert overnight. In the weekly meetings, we prepared for the adventurous journey by taking a course on CPR and first aid, planned our map route, and were taught how to make meals on a trangia stove. 

While this is all fun, we also need to choose three activities to complete for an hour a week during a three-month time span. The activities are a personal choice, but there must be a physical recreation, a service project and a skillful project. Students also need to keep a log after every activity. As part of this programme, I spent time taking care of street cats and started running.

This schedule obviously takes a lot of energy out of me every week and leaves me with little time to focus on other activities, which can be tough. But there is a way you can make time for things you enjoy doing while accomplishing everything you need to, and that is by making your commitments fun. This can be done by encouraging a friend to join you in an activity you want to take on, starting something new you've always wanted to try, or it could even be something you don't particularly want to do, but want to challenge yourself to try. 

A balance in lifestyle is the most important thing to consider when trying out an activity. All the things you do should contain a fun aspect to motivate you further. When I took on this approach in life, I noticed my performance in school increasing, I was meeting new friends in my activities, and I generally felt that everything that used to be difficult to me just became easier. 

Although it is a lot to handle, my activities give me a sense of pride and accomplishment, as I'm doing something more challenging than just school and social life. Parents sometimes worry about their child being stressed or overscheduled, and it is a choice, but if it is a choice a child is willing to make, it can make a big difference overall and they will start to see benefits. Through activities, children can learn new skills but also learn about themselves and practice dealing with challenges at a young age.




Dr Nancy Le Nezet is the Director of Studies at the Swiss International School (Doha, Qatar). Nancy studied philosophy in France and in the UK and taught languages in Japan, the US and Spain before starting her career as an IB educator. Nancy is passionate about international education and the IB programme. For more information about Nancy and the school, please visit sisq.qa.

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