Students and Jobs

Anadalay Martinez, Op/Ed Editor

A high school student will experience what life after high school is like before they have even graduated by taking a job during those years. Students attending high school and working are able to take on more responsibilities and credit hours and experience the benefits of both. “A high school student who has just gotten their first job learned a lot from the interviewing process and can gain some work experience and learn responsibility in a new setting,” according to Mr. Jesus Velez, a history and sociology teacher at PASE. High school students working and attending school can help teenagers stay out of trouble because they have to keep a clean record in order to maintain their job.

It also helps teach them the importance of budgeting and the value of money. Ms. Laila Agamie, a physical education and health teacher at PASE further implied the responsibility comes with a part-time job by stating, “it’s good to have a job part-time because it gives you a sense of responsibility. It also shows you how hard you have to work to earn money and how easy it is to spend it. You learn the value of a dollar and appreciate what your parents have done for you over the years.” Being able to maintain a job and getting good grades in school can build the individual’s confidence and makes them feel hopeful about the many things they can achieve in the future. Eric, a student in high school who also has a part-time job included that “having a job makes you feel good about yourself because you know that you can handle life after high school.”

High school students working at part-time jobs eventually develop impressive time-management skills. According to an article, Should Students Hold Jobs While in High School? written by the Walden University, nearly 30% of high school students are employed in a job for at least a portion of the school year. Mr. Velez stated, “I would think that having a part time job could help the student with time management and help them with their overall academic performance if they played their cards right. They also start to learn and adapt workplace norms and responsibilities which is a starter for when they eventually start to work in their career field. By having a job, a responsibility outside of school, the student will start to seriously think about their future and decide what really will work for them and most importantly, what they really want, what they like or want to do.

Even though having a job has its benefits, the main one being that the student is earning money, it also puts a lot of stress on the student. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average student works 18 hours in a school week, and working this long can really drain the energy from a student. Ms. Agamie mentions that “… students who work might not put as much effort into their schoolwork because they don’t have the time due to working and being tired. Students who are home have more time than they can space out their work so that they aren’t so overwhelmed.” Apart from the fact that a student will not only attend school for 8 hours, they then have to go to work for a couple of hours and then get home, complete school assignments, projects, study for tests/quizzes and still be able to get a good amount of sleep is tiring in one day but they are doing that the whole week. A student with no energy, most likely due to lack of sleep because there is not enough time, makes them more likely to fall asleep in the middle of a lecture. A tired student leads to potentially bad grades due to the fact that feeling extremely exhausted makes them put off classwork and homework assignments. Mr. Velez stated, “Based on my years of teaching, I’ve seen that students who work jobs during school are tired from working, don’t sleep right, and often sign up for summer school for the classes they gave up on maintaining good grades in…” and he even added,“… I’ve had some students, sad to say, decide to drop out because school doesn’t pay the bills and they say they need to help their family make ends meet.” But most importantly, a fatigued individual negatively impacts their mental and over-time physical health and their overall well-being. When asked, in what ways can you say that working while in high school changed the way you view life, Mr. Velez responded, “I’m glad that I didn’t have to do it. I can’t imagine the pressure of feeling like I need to provide for myself in terms of an education and for my household while I’m still a child myself.” An individual’s mental state is always more important than some job and school work.

Unfortunately, the majority of high school students who need a support system, don’t have one in order to help them manage their school responsibilities and the responsibilities that come with having a part-time job at the same time. Mr. Velez believes it’s harder for students in today’s society to maintain a part-time job and attend high school because “school has become more difficult for students as expectations have risen in terms of academic workloads, standardized testing requirements etc…” Apart from the fact that working at a part-time job and attending high school hurts their academic achievements, it also fails to teach students valuable life skills and lessons.

When students think about their future, Ms. Agamie feels “… that students have a very hard time managing their time and prioritizing what is most important…” The reduced academic performance and the beneficial results they are receiving right away avoids the student from thinking about any kind of career advancement after graduation. Mr. Velez believes high school students who work “… put off the work until they can get to it because it is not their number one priority. It is hard for school to compete with a job since you do not get paid to be in school in the immediate sense.” Lack of personal time is also common for high school students who work because they need to be well-organised in order to complete their responsibility before they even go ahead and do their own things. Liala, a mother of a high school student who doesn’t have a job mentioned “My daughter is always on top of her school work that it has even affected her day to day life. She can no longer stop thinking of school, her school is consuming her, she is constantly worried and at this point her only responsibility is her school work.” Apart from the fact that there’s little to no time for the individual to just take a break and care about themselves, the majority of high school students get a job to become independent from their parents and so that they can waste their money on whatever they desire because they have earned it from all their hard work. Basically, the student needs money for a social life because going out to places means money being spent but in the process of trying to maintain a job leaves the individual no time to socialize. Ms. Agamie brings out a good point by mentioning that “As a high school student and teenager, some people are too worried about their social lives rather than their future.” When talking about success, Ms. Agamie believes it depends on the student by stating, “I think that if you want something bad enough you can make it happen.” She further states “I know many who have jobs and maintain their grades and others who work, and their grades are suffering… I also feel that nowadays kids want whatever is easy and they don’t challenge themselves to be the best they can be. Especially in today’s society, with new technology making life easier by the minute, humans want to make everything fast-pace.