Doer He ’24 wakes up at 4:00 am. He is at school by 7:00, where he works on some homework. At 8:00 he is headed to his first-period Student Council class to start the school day.
By 10:50, he has finished Student Council and AP Physics C. He spends lunch eating, chatting with friends, and working on some more homework. He then heads to AP Spanish Language and Culture, and AP U.S. Government/Economics to wrap up the day.
Next he walks to the Innovation Commons, where he is involved with Robotics until 5:00. As Vice President of the Robotics Team, he helps lead the other members of one of Brophy’s largest clubs. He is back at his house at 5:45.
Once he is home, he eats dinner and works on more homework. While he has no more commitments tonight, any given night could include a variety of different responsibilities and meetings relating to his activities.
As President of the Model UN Club and Vice President of the Robotics Team, he spends quite a bit of time leading other members, coordinating meetings, and competing on the weekends. His responsibilities could also stem from his involvement in PEN, BLAM, and Brophy Student Council.
He’s homework can take up to three hours, and what time he goes to sleep can vary. At 4:00 am the next day, however, he is up and back at it again.
This is an average “A” day for He, and his schedule can easily change and get much busier.
Why does He engage in such an action-packed schedule? The answer is that he loves it.
“People say that it’s sadistic or masochistic. For me to do all of this, honestly, I found a passion for this. I wanted to push myself and see. And I’m also a super easy person to convince if you want me to join your club … Adding those two together, you end up doing a lot,” said He.
For Brophy students, immersive schedules are nothing new. Many students participate in some combination of AP/Honors classes, Brophy and club sports, servicework and other extracurriculars. On top of all this, long commutes and jobs are not uncommon.
And while He is only a junior, seniors also have the pressures of navigating college applications and the time they demand. Applications include procuring letters of recommendation, writing essays, and filling out a variety of forms.
He also said that his schedule allows him to explore his interests, of which he has many.
This is one of the major draws for students to add more to their schedules. Many Brophy students have a wide variety of interests, and Brophy has plenty of opportunities for them to be explored. Brophy has 95 different clubs, 19 varsity sports, and 75 AP and Honors courses available to students, which allow students to get heavily involved.
Building stellar resumes for college applications can also be a motivating reason for some busy Brophy students.
Multiple students from the past two graduating classes have been accepted to prestigious schools like Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, showing that acceptance is certainly attainable. Adding more to their plates is a way that students can impress college admissions officers.
But there are also drawbacks to these types of schedules. Since AP classes are more in depth, they typically come with more assignments and studying that is needed. And many athletes play club sports. Practices take up school nights, and tournaments can eat up weekends.
“There is zero doubt in my mind that on average, Brophy students have a more jam-packed life schedule than an average high schooler. On one hand, that’s almost to be expected. Students and families want to be involved because of all of the different opportunities that we have to engage in athletics, academics, spiritual life, the arts, I mean almost anything under the sun is available to our students,” said Mr. Oscar Borboa ’06. Mr. Borboa works as a College Counselor at Brophy.
Getting involved means that some things might have to be sacrificed, however, and sleep is one of the first.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, teenagers should sleep for 8-10 hours a night. Studies show, however, that 70% of teens fall short of this range. A survey conducted by The Roundup a few years ago found that almost half of Brophy students get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Dealing with so many responsibilities at the same time can also lead to increased stress for students, as they are juggling so many different activities and responsibilities.
About the potential risks of an over-packed schedule, Mr. Borboa said, “The drawbacks are very real, and are something that as a full school community, we’ve got to make sure we discuss openly and honestly. Because yes, some students can feel so stressed out by everything they’re juggling that it negatively impacts their health and wellness or mental well-being. Some students are operating on five hours of sleep, and in some cases less, which is horrible for anyone, especially teenagers.”
While there are some risks, to current Brophy students looking to take harder classes, play more sports, or get involved in new extracurriculars, He said that his schedule has been beneficial for him, and that you get out of it as much as you put in.
“I’m not gonna say like I have the busiest schedule. I know that’s not true…It’s just up to how much you really want to do,” said He.
Ben Jackson ’23 also has a lot on his plate. Among other things, he is enrolled in six AP-level courses this fall, is President of Key Club and the Modern Medicine Club, and is involved in Brophy Mountain Biking and Rugby. Jackson said that his schedule works for him, but might not for others.
“Yes. I think this schedule is perfect for me. I would recommend it to academically driven students who have some drive. I would not recommend it to the average student however,” said Jackson.
For those already with a lot on their plate, Mr. Borboa said that if students feel consistently overloaded and stressed, then it might be time to scale back a little. But he also believes that getting involved can be extremely valuable.
“Working on your time management, collaborating with others, competing at the highest levels, working on getting better at your instruments at your performance – all of those things give people a chance to dive into their passions and to get the most out of it. That’s just great life preparation,” said Mr. Borboa.