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A Week in the Life of a Student Athlete

The story of Christina Sabochick.

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Taking on the responsibilities of both student and athlete in high school is a challenge in and of itself, but adding four AP classes in one year to the mix can cause students to either break under the pressure or excel to new heights.

 

As an alternate, Christina Sabochick made the trip to Great Meadows for the Cross Country state meet.

An AP student athlete is one that goes beyond merely playing a sport and going to school. These people are invested in their sport and academics, and in addition stay active in their community.

 

Christina Sabochick, a junior at Grafton High School, fits the bill for AP student athlete. She is a Grafton runner and swimmer, club swimmer, student enrolled in four AP courses, Special Olympics club officer, and an active participator in her Girl Scout troop.

To get a feel for her day-to-day life, I sat down with her and asked her about how she splits her time up and what motivates her to do sports on top of taking rigorous courses. Here’s what she had to say:

What AP classes do you take?
“AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP US History, and AP English 11.”

How many hours a week do you spend on homework and studying?

“I would say at least fifteen…honestly on average if I just have like a normal week, one or two tests, probably fifteen to twenty I’d say.”

How many hours a week do you spend hanging out with friends?

“Probably…I’d say like five to ten maybe, ten…being the max like on a school week.”

What made you decide to take four AP classes?

“I wanted to take four mainly because I felt like that’s a challenge I could handle and it’d be something that would help get me ready for college…The psychology and the environmental science were more for me deciding what I wanted to do later on, because I know I want to go into science but I really have little idea what. And I thought those, being pretty advanced classes in pretty specific subjects, would help me figure out what I want to do.”

Do you think that the classes being AP helped you learn more?

“Definitely. The weighted classes I’ve taken are pretty much the same workload…but AP definitely facilitates learning more than other classes I’ve taken.”

Do you enjoy your classes? And if not, how does that affect you ability to do the work?

“I enjoy generally all my classes except I never liked history, it’s just not interesting and it does make it a lot harder for me to do work. I definitely spend the most time on all my history work because I either get very bored or confused and it’s more frustrating than doing other stuff.”

How do the four AP classes you take affect your performance in other classes?

“I kind of try to balance [the workload] on A and B days so I’m trying to do a lot of work in advance, but the AP does normally come first. But generally if I have a grade that’s lower than the other ones I’m going to devote more time to that. But I also try to balance it the best I can, which is often why I’m up really late.”

Would you say this year is significantly harder than last year when you just took one AP class?

“I wouldn’t say harder because I do understand the information more because I’m taking a lot more sciences, but I’d say the workload in general is a lot more. It’s stuff that I kind of…enjoy doing in a way. But it’s not so much studying every night. I’m doing activities so I’m more engaged in it which is kind of nice. The AP Euro [last year] was one of the hardest classes I’ve taken, so the history itself is less difficult but I’d say the workload is a lot higher.

Do you plan to take all of your exams?

“I plan to take all of them except AP Environmental Science because it doesn’t relate at all to what I’m going to end up doing. I’ve decided so I’m gonna focus on the other three.”

What would you say your typical stress level is on a scale of one to ten?

“If I have a test coming up it’s more like a seven, but on just like a normal day at this point it’s like a four or five because…even if I come to accept that I’m staying up late, I’m kind of okay with that and I’ve gotten used to it…I do get a little nervous when I have a lot piling up and I know that I have to get it done, but…normally I know that I can handle it.”

When you are doing sports would you say that your stress level is higher?

“Definitely. Because not only am I getting home later but I’m actually exhausted so…my work time isn’t as productive just because I’m tired and kind of like dozing off…wanting to go to sleep.”

Do you think the stress you feel as a student athlete is worth it?

“I’d say definitely. I’ve met some of my best friends in athletics and it just helps really clear my mind. I don’t know, I’d be kind of bored without sports. Like even now [in my off season] I’m going to try to keep running and swimming on my own because without sports I’d definitely be a lot more stressed just about stuff in general because it gives me a time to think about everything and clear my head.”

Do you regret taking any of the classes you take?

“I don’t regret it. I think that it was a really good choice, because that way I’m set up so hopefully whatever college I decide I want to go to they’ll notice that I want to challenge myself and I’ll get accepted. So I’d definitely say that it’s a great idea to take AP [courses].”

What would you say taking the four AP classes has taught you?

“Definitely time management for sure, which I’m sure a lot of people would say. But also…how to take notes that are adapted to your kind of learning. Because often with the AP you do take notes in class, but you’re expected to do even more for yourself outside of class. So it’s really helped me figure out what kind of learning I’m used to, which for me is more visual…which is why AP is better for me since we’re often doing activities..”

Do you feel that you ever miss out on opportunities because of your school work?

“I think I can manage it. Like sometimes I may miss out on hanging out with someone or going to some fun event, but normally I have enough that I can go to that it makes it worth it to still be…pushing myself in school.”

In 2013-14 there were approximately 7.8 million student athletes in America, but only a fraction of those people are able to do well in both their sport and their studies, and even fewer can boast of taking four AP classes and succeeding in a sport as well. The AP student athletes that do exist, though, have similar motivations and schedules as Christina as they try to balance their busy lives.

Despite being busy, though mainly by choice, Christina does admit to making time for purely fun activities. “My family watches Walking Dead every Sunday so I have to plan for that!” said Christina with a laugh.

A copy of Christina’s weekly schedule can be seen below:

Sunday
10-3:
HW/
Studying3:30-5 :
Smart
Swim6-10:
Time
with family
Monday

2:45-4 :
Swim

6:00 :
Dinner

6:30-11 :
HW/
Studying

Tuesday

2:45-4 :
Swim

6:00 :
Dinner

6:30-11 :
HW/
Studying

Wednesday

2:45-4 :
Swim

6:00 :
Dinner

6:30-11 :
HW/
Studying

Thursday

2:45-4 :
Swim

6:00 :
Dinner

6:30-11 :
HW/
Studying

Friday

2:45-4 :
Swim

6:00 :
Dinner

6:30-11 :
HW/
Studying

Saturday

10-4 :
HW/
Studying

5-9 :
Time
With
friends/
family

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