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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

How does dedicating time to after school activities or sports affect students socially?


The WIS community is full of students who dedicate at least 10 hours to an after-school activity per week. These dedicated student-athletes were asked how their commitments affect their social life. Many students choose not to join clubs or do sports out of school because they fear it will have a negative impact on their social lives. Students assume that the endless hours of practice and games mean that you won’t have time for friends but most of the students interviewed said that they disagreed.

Most of the students interviewed said that sports don’t really hurt their social life but instead make it better. Many students did agree that they miss out on events, parties, and dances, but they said that playing sports helped them make more friends from different schools.

Ava Dwyer a freshman at WIS is a serious dancer. She is 14 years old and strives to be a professional dancer as an adult. She dances around 25 hours a week including performances. Dwyer dances at CityDance and dances a variety of genres including ballet, hip-hop, jazz and modern.

She says dance is her passion, and when it comes to her social life is affected positively. Dwyer says that all of those hours spent in the studio led to the creation of some of the best relationships she’s had with her friends. For Dwyer, dance is part of her social life.

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“I’m not really affected socially because a lot of my friends are at dance,” she said.

Going to dance practice isn’t separating her from her friends but instead, it was just another group of friends she spends time with.

“I guess I don’t hang out with my WIS friends as much as I could during the week because of dance, but they understand so it doesn’t bother me,” she said.

Dwyer said that the only negative side of doing so much dance was that she might not spend as much quality time with her friends from school. She also misses out on hangouts and spending time with them after school when they go to Connecticut Ave.

Some sports require you to travel every weekend and depending on the level maybe travel to other countries. Students have different goals to what they want the final outcome to be within their sport. Some of the students are trying to pursue a professional career and others want to get a scholarship and play on their college team. A lot of serious athletes drop out of school and start online school with flexible hours to be able to dedicate more time to their sport.

Gaebriel Tafara is also a freshman at WIS and is extremely devoted to his sport. He plays roughly 20 hours a week of soccer and is striving to play professionally. Tafara social life is affected differently because of soccer compared to Avas. Gaeb said most of his friends are at soccer and that the downside is that a lot of the time he can’t go to many parties, stay out late or spend his Saturdays or Sundays with his friends because of games and practice. That is the impact that soccer is having on his social life now but under the right circumstances, his social life could change drastically. Tafara has been recruited by Sporting Lisbon Academy in Lisbon which is one of the best soccer academies. Cristiano Ronaldo trained there and the majority of kids training there end up going pro.

“By the end of 10th-grade, I’m probably going to move to Portugal to train,” Tafara said.

If Tafara leaves his social life would change to the point where he would start a new one. Tafara would leave all of his friends and would be forced to start a new social life from nothing. His only connections to his old friends in DC would be social media and the occasional phone call but the odds are he would lose most of his friends.Tafara would also most likely make new friends and has the opportunity to meet new people that he probably wouldn’t have met without soccer.

Tafara has taken extreme measures to pursue his sport and dream and because of that, he has extreme effects on his social life.

Anders Westerman is also a student at WIS but isn’t taking the extreme measures that Tafara or Dwyer take. Unlike them, he has no ambitions to play college or professional but instead practices a variety of sports with the school. As a freshman, he played JV soccer and basketball. To Anders the impacts of playing sports o his social life were only positive.

“Most of my friends practice with me. Even if I’m not at an even because I’m at a game I am not missing out because my friends aren’t there but they’re here with me,” Westermann said.

Westerman said he joined sports at school for two reasons. His first one was because he loves sports but his second one was because it was another activity he could do with his friends. To Westermann, sports don’t restrict him socially but instead boost his social life.

Doing sports or dedicating your time to an activity depends on how seriously you take it, what your ambitions are and what sport it is. Most students interviewed for this story said that it affects them positively but there were some cases where the impacts were negative. Pursuing a sport is about passion and if your willing to sacrifice small social time then it should be worth it.

By Lucas Brudniak-Berrocal

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