South African Students' Survival Guide: Balancing Extracurriculars and Academics

Ah, the age-old high school struggle: cramming for that history test while simultaneously dodging rogue frisbees at rugby practice. Balancing extracurriculars (ECs) and academics is a tightrope walk, and South African students know it well. Between national sports teams, vibrant youth theatre, and those killer debate competitions, it’s easy to feel like a plate-spinning octopus on caffeine. But fear not, young padawans! This guide is your compass for navigating the exciting (and sometimes slightly terrifying) world of juggling ECs and hitting those academic homeruns.

Stats that stun:

  • A 2022 UCT study found that 78% of South African high schoolers participate in at least one EC.
  • Research also shows that engaged students with a healthy EC-academic balance have better mental health, higher levels of self-esteem, and sharper critical thinking skills.

Feeling trapped between textbooks and tackles? Juggling late-night studying with early-morning practice sessions? Fear not, Mzansi teens! At Uplift Learning, we get it. Our online courses, designed for diverse learning styles and flexible schedules, help you conquer academics without compromising your passions. Dive deep into history while dominating the rugby field, master chemistry while rocking the debate stage – all without breaking the bank. We offer affordable, adaptable learning, plus a supportive community and, most importantly, a Time Management course that’s your secret weapon for juggling it all. Don’t let finances or time constraints hold you back – unleash your inner polymath with Uplift Learning and conquer your academic-extracurricular Everest!

Tips for Students

  • Prioritise and plan: Make a schedule that works for YOU. Block out time for studying, ECs, sleep (yes, sleep!), and even some downtime for chilling with mates. There are awesome apps like “Forest” that can help you focus during study sessions. Join our HOW TO FOCUS course to learn about different time management techniques.
  • Communicate clearly: Talk to your teachers and coaches about workload and deadlines. They’re there to help, not haunt you!
  • Learn to say NO: It’s okay to decline that extra club or committee if your plate is already overflowing. Focus on quality, not quantity, in your ECs.
  • Embrace the power of “chunking”: Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes studying less daunting and more productive.
  • Study smarter, not harder: Find techniques that work for you. Flashcards, study groups, mind maps – experiment and see what sticks. Have a look at different how to study courses to find out different learning styles.
  • Remember, your health matters: Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. A healthy body fuels a healthy mind.

Tips for Parents

  • Be a listening ear, not a judgmental judge: Offer support and guidance, but avoid nagging or pressuring your kids. Let them take ownership of their time management.
  • Help them set realistic goals: Work with your child to create achievable goals for both academics and ECs. Celebrating small wins keeps them motivated.
  • Be flexible and understanding: Things don’t always go according to plan. Be willing to adjust schedules and expectations when needed.
  • Lead by example: Show your child the importance of a healthy work-life balance by incorporating your own hobbies and activities into your routine.
  • Most importantly, celebrate their efforts: Applaud their hard work, both in academics and ECs. Let them know you’re proud of them, regardless of the grades or trophies.


At Uplift Learning, we understand that being a parent, you sometimes simply need additional support and we are here to help you every step of the way. 

At Uplift Learning, we believe everyone deserves access to quality education, regardless of their background or schedule. That’s why our flexible online courses let you conquer academics without compromising your passions, even with extracurricular commitments. We also offer a Time Management course specifically designed to help you juggle school, sports, and personal life with ease, ensuring you reach your full potential.Embrace the chaos, learn from the juggling act, and most importantly, have fun! The memories you create and the skills you develop along the way will be with you long after the final school bell rings. So, go forth, young scholars and athletes, and conquer the world, one frisbee catch and open textbook at a time!

Additional resources:

Discover how Uplift Learning empowers students from all walks of life to excel in academics and extracurriculars, thanks to our accessible online courses, flexible schedules, and dedicated support community. Let us help you unleash your inner polymath without breaking the bank or neglecting your passions.

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