Supergirl isn’t just in “Smallville”—she’s in your school or gym and may even be you!
By Brianne Carlon
School, practice, games and competition already take up a lot of time, but when extracurricular activities, an all-star team and a part-time job are added to the mix, your schedule fills up fast! Some cheerleaders seem to be able to do it all in true superhero style. Tap into your inner Supergirl with tips from some very busy cheerleaders who know how to make time for cheer, school and maybe even a social life!
- “Stay focused on one thing at a time,” says Andrea Stickel, a freshman cheerleader at Valley Christian HS in San Jose, CA, who’s also a member of Nor Cal All-Stars. On top of her double-duty cheer responsibilities, Andrea takes part in community service at her school and church, shoots a few professional modeling gigs, and still has a 4.0 GPA—no small feat when you’re taking honors English, chemistry and algebra 2! She uses a dry-erase board to see her goals in writing. “I write down something, like a new skill I want to get, and focus on it every night before I go to bed.”
- Make lists and check off what you’ve accomplished, says Melissa Pasquale, a senior at Boardman HS in Ohio. On top of being the varsity squad captain, editor of the school newspaper, a member of National Honors Society, senior class president, founder of the Fashion Club, working at Limited Too and taking part in an organization called CELEBRATE at her church, Melissa manages to keep her GPA above a 3.8. “I get the most accomplished when everything is done and out of the way, so I save schoolwork for last [so I can really focus on it],” she says.
- Only join clubs or activities you can commit to. “It’s better to commit to the activities you enjoy than to join a lot just to say you do it,” says Stephany Maldonado, a senior and varsity cheerleader at Port Richmond HS in Staten Island, NY, and a member of Staten Island Elite all-stars. She decided to limit her participation in a yearly event called SING where the classes battle it out by putting on a play complete with singing, acting and dancing. It requires rehearsals for about five hours, three to four times a week. “Last year I was one of the main [actors],” she says, “ but this year I decided just to do art.”
- Become an expert multitasker. Stephany takes part in high school cheerleading, all-star cheerleading, a student organization that plans and carries out school events, and—oh, yeah—is graduating early! “Cheerleading is definitely my life,” she says, “but I am also in an honors program that pushes us to focus on school.” Along with using a planner and copying her notes, Stephany is a master of multi-tasking. “I study for a subject [when there’s extra time] in another class, but still pay attention,” she says.
- Learn to prioritize. Callie Montgomery says she sometimes has to work ahead on a long-term project or might even have to study on the weekends to keep up. A junior at Martin HS in Arlington, TX, Callie cheers with her school’s varsity squad and the Spirit of Texas All-Stars, as well as taking part in student council, National Spanish Honors Society, Key Club, President’s Council and volunteer work. She also takes four advanced-placement classes and remains in the sixth percentile of her class. But that’s not all! She has two part-time jobs working as a hostess and photographer’s assistant. “Don’t let all the social events or drama of high school keep you from focusing on your school work and goals,” she says.
Sleep on It
With all these activities, it’s amazing these girls have any time to sleep! Although they all say they try to go to bed as early as possible, the busy high schoolers admit to having to stay up late to finish homework sometimes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents should get a full nine hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, 45 percent get less than eight hours each night, and only nine percent of high schoolers get the full nine hours. This can cause feelings of irritability or depression, falling asleep in school or overloading on caffeinated beverages.
Instead of staying up late or waking up early, put AC’s tips to good use and get movin’!
10 TIPS FOR GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT
1. Figure out how your time is being spent. Fill in an hourly chart for one week showing how you use each hour of time. This way, you can determine at a glance if too much time is being spent on the phone or internet, which might be better used for studying. This also helps you to see how much free time is available for relaxing or hanging out with friends.
2. Make a list of specific goals you want to accomplish. Say, “I want to spend two hours studying for every one hour in class,” or “I want to make $50 to buy new cheerleading shoes,” rather than, “I want to study more and make more money.” Refer back to this list when you find yourself bored in front of the TV.
3. Use a planner or PDA. This move will help you organize assignments, chores and responsibilities so you can tell at a glance what you need to do on a given day.
4. Write down your class assignments as soon as they’re given. This way you can see what needs to be done first and what will take the most amount of time.
5. Budget enough time to complete tasks. Calculate how long each item on the list will take. Then add on an extra 25 percent of that time to allow for mistakes, interruptions or unexpected problems.
6. Set aside time to study every day. Even if you have no exam until finals, looking over your notes continually will prevent having to cram when the times comes. Schedule five or 10 minutes for each subject, each day.
7. Try to stick to a routine. Setting aside two hours in between practice or right after school for studying or working will help help you avoid procrastinating.
8. Don’t procrastinate! This causes wasted time. Instead, do the hardest tasks first and think positively. Say, “I choose to,” rather than “I have to.” Your mind probably automatically resists when you think something “should” be done.
9. Divide large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, break down a research paper into researching, outlining and writing. Also try breaking the assignment down into daily parts and complete a little each day until it is due.
10. Say no to social events if there’s studying to be done. Putting studying before partying is a must. Sometimes socializing might have to wait until the weekend. Make sure your friends understand that you are serious about school and cheerleading to avoid hurting their feelings. Or go ahead and combine the two by inviting a few friends over for a study party. Just make sure there’s more studying than partying. Quiz one another before a test or check over a friend’s math homework before she hands it in. Having study buddies is a fun way to get your work done.