Yes, being busy is good for teens.

Genevieve Marino, Staff Writer

Everyone will likely experience stress at various points in their life, so it is better to experience stress in high school first and learn how deal with it than to experience it for the first time as an adult. There is something to be said for the benefits of being able to prioritize your time in the face of a packed schedule and learning how to spend your time doing productive work.

Developing Good Work Habits

One of the most important skills that school teaches students is how to prioritize their time. In high school, students can often be expected to complete up to four hours of homework from every teacher on any given week, according to US News. In addition, when parents, counselors, and colleges push participation in extracurricular activities and clubs, not much time is left over for anything else.

This shortage of free time forces students to decide what matters more to them, their grades, which could end up greatly impacting their future, or spending time with their friends. And if their grades are more important, they have to be able to develop the skills to work well under pressure.

Learning what work habits are the most useful for them personally is the first challenge facing teens who are figuring out how to manage too many obligations. Once teenagers learn their study habits and how they can get the most work done in the shortest amount of time, which can only come from repeatedly finding themselves in a time crunch, they will be able to use what they have learned about themselves for the rest of their lives.

Being able to work consistently and productively as an adult in the workplace can make anyone a more valuable asset in any line of work. Future employers appreciate employees who are good at avoiding procrastination and able to follow through on promises.

Discovering Personal Interests

In addition, when teens decide, within extracurricular activities and classes, which is a best use of their time, they show a level of maturity in realizing that they can’t do everything.

Prioritizing their time and being forced to choose what to spend their time on will also help students discover what they really love to do and help maximize their motivation. They are allowed to learn more about themselves as they sort through what things they enjoy doing the most.

Staying Out of Trouble

Being busy doing things that are healthy is also a lot better than the alternative. Sometimes, teens who aren’t as good at making decisions for themselves and who have a lot of extra time on their hands do things that they will regret later. While some of these decisions can be learned from and forgotten, others lead to unavoidable consequences that will stick with the teens for the rest of their lives.

Under certain circumstances, the results of unnecessary free time in teens can include risky behaviors that lead to teen incarceration and under-age drug use.

Members and counselors of the after-school fitness club Just Keep Living, or JKL, understand what can come of teens who misuse their free time and get into unwanted trouble. Kurt Budd, a member of JKL said that he enjoys the community at JKL and that he has learned a lot from the experience.

“It’s feels nice for me to have something productive to do until it is time to do my homework,” said Budd, a sophomore.

This program in the West Gym is meant to provide a healthy alternative to teens using their time poorly. Members of the program spend time working out together after school and doing other physical activities in addition to building a community together.

“I feel like if I have something productive to do, I am getting something good out of it rather than doing nothing at all,” said Ernie Gomez, another member of JKL. “Being in JKL is something I feel like everyone needs for health, mental health and physical health. In places like JKL, you are able to be productive and especially with other people you feel comfortable with. You get to explore your thoughts and get feedback from other people, too.”

Ms. Cabebe, a staff member of JKL, explained that JKL is meant to be a “home away from home” for the teens involved. She said that it is a safe place for kids to spend their time to make sure that they don’t get into trouble.

Other on-campus after-school activities that benefit Venice teens include Boys and Girls Club, sports programs, marching band, Academic Decathlon, theater production, and some college classes.