If you ask me what my biggest regret was during high school, aside from not spending more time with my friends and less time stressing about my stupid Maths homework, it was quitting sport.
When Year 12 rolled around I had heard all the horror stories about the stress of assignments and study. I knew I’d be stressed about my final exams, but I tried to ignore all the hype surrounding the pressure of my final years.
I was playing sport, going to school, working and trying to fit in assignments and study around all that as well. Slowly but surely, I started thinking I had to give up something if I wanted to get a good ATAR.
I almost want to blame it on my parents and my teachers who slowly wore me down. I was constantly being told that playing sport was a waste of my time and I needed to focus on my school work. At the end of the day though, it was me that decided that if I didn’t have to go to training or games, then surely, I could use that time to get my shit together and get things done.
You know what I learnt? It doesn’t matter if you quit everything you love doing and spend every second in the library. There comes a point where you reach your study limit, and that’s where sport, or reading, or youth group or stamp collecting comes in. It gives you a chance to remember that there’s more to life than rankings and marks and reminds you that you’re more than a number.
To be completely honest with ya, I was going to procrastinate either way. Quitting sport didn’t magically make me focus or give me hours of free time. Do I think I did better in Year 12 because I took time off sport? Nah. If anything, playing would have probably stopped me from burning out so early and given me a chance to take a breather from the mountain of work I was constantly trying to catch up on.
At the end of the day quitting sport didn’t make me a better student, and I missed out on things like grand finals and end of year presentations that probably would have meant more to me than an extra mark on an exam anyway.
If you’re tossing up whether you should quit playing to focus on study, my advice is don’t do it. Yeah, take a couple of weeks off during exam period to give yourself some time to sleep, eat and cram all the study you should have been doing weeks ago. But don’t throw in the towel completely, it’s not worth it.