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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Falcon Focus: I am a time juggler

When that blaring, obnoxious noise from the alarm clock screams to “WAKE UP ALREADY!”, most kids roll over sleepily and hit the snooze button for “just five more minutes…” before they have to start their day.
But not Peter VandeVort.
At precisely 6:22 a.m. every morning, he gets up, and is ready to begin another day that snakes and zigzags around his many passions and activities. He bikes to school by 7:30 a.m. for an academically taxing day packed with band, Spanish, and an Algebra 2 Honors class. Then lunch becomes a time to catch up with some combination of the wide variety of clubs that VandeVort is a part of—Model UN, Common Roots, Investment Club, Team HBV, Committed2Community, and Psychology Club. By the time he comes home from school, there is just enough time to grab a snack before he is running off for his one-hour daily workout at the school gym. After squeezing out another hour to get a head start on his homework, he juggles some concoction of baseball, trumpet practice, ASB meetings, or Mock Trial practices, depending on the day. By 8:45 p.m., he finally sits down to eat dinner and finish up his homework, before sleeping and starting the whole process all over again.
And this is after cutting down on marching band practice due to the end of the season, and before VandeVort’s umpiring job or jazz band practices begin within the next few weeks.
But no worries, it’s just another day at the office.
Because for VandeVort, he has “fun with all of [his activities]”, and none of them seem like chores. In fact, the list keeps growing, changing, and developing. But this is becoming a problem for him, because fitting over 12 activities into a single week means that he has to juggle his time wisely. But for him, letting go of activities isn’t a viable option at this point.
“Each [activity] provides a different experience that none of the others provide,” he said. “Each one has a different set of people, a different set of personalities. They all provide a different aspect to my life.”
To VandeVort, one of the most important aspects is being able to relax and creatively express himself through jazz band and music. And, not surprisingly, band is his favorite activity.
“We’re so focused on ‘Homework, homework, homework! Get good grades, get good grades, get good grades!’ that we really need those moments of creativity and inspiration,” he said. “That’s why I like jazz so much.”
And the list doesn’t stop there.
“Baseball provides a mode of fitness, and a group of people that I wouldn’t really get to interact with elsewhere. And Mock Trial is just so interesting, because it gives you an experience that you couldn’t get, unless you were going to court as a teenager,” he said, laughing.
So for VandeVort, life is a rollercoaster with twists, turns, and loop-de-loops, but the ride has to eventually slow down somewhere. VandeVort often feels like this is his biggest problem.
“Quite often I feel I do too much, and I constantly debate over what to drop [for the] next year. But I love everything too much…and the cycle starts all over again,” he said. “Like band—it’s so much fun, but it takes up time.”
VandeVort’s parents encouraged his interests, because they are “part of what high school should be about.” But his mom articulated her worry for the time commitment all the activities take up for her son.
“Sometimes I wish that he would do less because every club requires 100 percent, and there’s only so much time in a day to fit everything,” she said. 
VandeVort understood his mother’s point, and said that there was some method as to how he tries to cut down his activities.
“I think [about] which activities take up the most time, and my least favorite,” VandeVort said. “But each activity provides something new to my life that I can never get elsewhere. [They all] fit together in their own special way, and make my life a whole.”
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