Are Upper School students able to achieve balance?


Credit: Dylan Wade, Aidan Wilson, and Sofia Graziano

Upper School students are frequently challenged academically. The Editorial Board began examining the effects of such academic challenges on the lives students lead.

By The Editorial Board

Teachers and administrators recently established a list of characteristics they hope to foster in students during their time at Hackley. The “Portrait of a Graduate” is an aspirational document that reaffirms Hackley’s core values.

According to the portrait, a Hackley education is expected to hone “habits of accomplishment” in students. Therefore, Hackley is expected to teach its students “the immeasurable value of a life marked by friendship, balance, and joy.” Although the school hopes graduates fulfill the expectations described by the “Portrait of a Graduate,” some students face an intense struggle to meet these aspirations.

“Balance” is elusive for many Hackley students. Obstacles to balance include long commutes, sports commitments, family obligations, extracurricular activities, and homework. Each obstacle poses a unique challenge to the work-life balance of students with some meshing together to exacerbate pre-existing work-life balance issues.

Although Hackley students are encouraged to be well rounded, which prepares them for college life, the various, unique activities students choose to take on can pose a challenge.

“I feel that I can never manage to finish everything. Being an AP art student, it feels impossible for me to work on college applications when I have two weeks to finish an art piece and finish my homework for the night,” senior Fiona Boettner said. “Because of the stress at school, I find it difficult to focus during my tennis matches, which can mess up my mindset,” she added.

Some students find that they are left with little time for family life.

“It is extraordinarily difficult for me to find time to bond and play with my three-year-old brother when I am forced to do intolerable amounts of homework each night,” Junior Adam Tannenbaum said.

The Editorial Board believes that we as a community can do better, but we also know that this is a complex issue.  We want more information, so this article marks the beginning of a multipart series that will explore the lives and experiences of Upper School students.

The Dial Editorial Board will examine, among other things, the ways in which students develop, sustain, or struggle with a sense of work-life balance. This awareness of balance is especially important to investigate in a community filled with students who strive for successes of various sorts.

So, we need your help.  We encourage anyone who would like to share their experiences and the challenges they face to contact us at [email protected].  In particular, we’re looking for students who are willing to provide in-depth interviews on what goes into their daily lives and whether they are achieving the balance they seek.