A balancing act

Students share how they manage outside activities and school work


Senior Jay Yeung records clips for an upcoming Minecraft video.

In his sophomore year, senior Jeremiah Moli’s friends decided to try playing Dungeons & Dragons [D&D], a popular fantasy tabletop role-playing game. The game requires one player to be a Dungeon Master or DM and act as a storyteller for a campaign. Because of Moli’s creativity and the fact that he was willing to do the work to create a story, he decided to take up the mantle of a DM. 

Since starting his first campaign in 2020, Moli has learned a lot about D&D and has organized many campaigns with groups of three to six people, with sessions taking place online via Discord on Fridays or Saturdays. Moli appreciates the social aspect of D&D sessions, saying the game allows people to be more open with their personalities and get more comfortable with their friends. Personally, Moli finds that being the DM has given him a safe space to relax from academic pressure and process his thoughts.

“[Through D&D, I get to] express my creativity through storytelling,” Moli said. “It’s mostly just me saying things that are going on in my head, and I find it therapeutic because it’s just an endless stream of me talking things out. When I write the stories, sometimes they’re based on things in real life, so it helps to talk through my issues.”

As Moli and his friends have gotten a better understanding of D&D, his campaigns have become more complex, with one of his most recent campaigns being set in space. He likes how each campaign is unique and says he is excited to continue playing D&D even after he graduates.

“My friends are more comfortable with their characters and what they want to do [because] they knew a bit more about the game and what was in the realm of possibility for them,” Moli said. “When we started with sci-fi stuff, they found it cool [even though] it’s a lot different than what we were doing in the beginning. I think they all really enjoyed it.”

While Moli only started playing D&D two years ago, soccer has been a staple in sophomore Finnegan Hassy’s life since he was eight. After seeing a Premier League soccer game on the TV, Hassy got inspired to start playing the sport, and encouragement from his family led him to stick with it. Hassy says his father has always encouraged him to practice playing soccer and be active in general. 

Hassy believes it has also helped him with his time management skills, as he has to juggle school, play for MVHS’s soccer team and play for De Anza Force, an outside-of-school club. With almost daily soccer practices and games, Hassy has learned a lot about time management in order to fit everything into his busy schedule. 

“My time management skills have increased dramatically because of soccer,” Hassy said. “Soccer makes me [more aware] about homework and when I’m going to complete it. I usually like to do my homework beforehand, so I don’t have to worry about it when I’m doing soccer practice or at a game.” 

Unlike Hassy, senior Jay Yeung, who makes gaming videos on YouTube, says he does not need to juggle his hobby and homework at the same time — when Yeung has a lot of homework, he takes a break from YouTube. While acknowledging that this causes his channel to have an inconsistent upload schedule, Yeung says his YouTube channel is just for fun and prioritizes school.

Yeung created his YouTube channel, “Rukt XD” in his sophomore year and started by posting Minecraft videos; however, recently, he has begun diversifying his content with Valorant montages and ranting videos. 

Admitting that he has much to learn about editing and improving the quality of his videos, Yeung has asked his friends for help and joined Video Making Club at school. Yeung says he is motivated by positive comments on his videos, but the main reason he continues posting is a desire to be creative.

“Reading comments is fun, but [I upload to] create,” Yeung said. “If you’re always on YouTube and consuming other people’s content, it gets kind of boring. Sometimes you want to create your own videos.”

On the other hand, freshman Sania Nadkarni prefers spending her free time with others and on weekends she hangs out with her friends. Nadkarni says because none of her friends can drive, they are usually limited to walking around, going to Jollyman Park or staying at one another’s houses.

“One time I went to [my friend’s] house, and we got Crumbl Cookies — we usually eat food [when hanging out],” Nadkarni said. “Sometimes we make TikToks, [but] a lot of the time we’re just in a room, and we’re all on our phones, but then we’re like ‘We should go off our phones and just talk,’ so we then talk about people.”

Nadkarni balances her academics and social life by trying to finish her work on Friday. However, she says she is a big procrastinator and often leaves all her pending assignments for Sunday nights. Nadkarni is able to finish her work in one night because she says she has a light workload as a freshman but expects to have more work as a sophomore. Despite this, Nadkarni says that she will still try to hang out weekly with her friends, as she says it helps her deal with stress from school.

“I’m going to try my best to [hang out every week], but I am gonna prioritize studying,” Nadkarni said. “But also, I think it’s important not only to study but also allow yourself time to de-stress, and I think surrounding yourself with friends is a really great way to do that.”

Similarly, junior Jordan Tashjian thinks it is essential to make time to be social and says he has had to adjust his schedule to ensure that his weekly hangout with his friends on Saturdays doesn’t interfere with homework or family time. By getting most of his schoolwork done during the week, Tashjian says this allows him to not miss out on opportunities to be with his friends. 

Tashjian says their weekly tradition of going to eat and then walking around only started this year, and he finds hanging out with each other outside of school on the weekends to be the highlight of his week and a welcome break from academics.

“[Our weekly hangouts] gives me something to look forward to [and] I feel like, over this school year, I’ve gotten to know my friends better, and I’m closer with all of them,” Tashjian said.