Working while learning- why students work while in high school.


Philip Ruch, feature writer

High school is chalked full of new opportunities, many of which cost money, unfortunately. Many parents, however, no longer want to pay for anything and everything their high school students want. Oftentimes the solution to this dilemma is joining the workforce whether it be working the drive-thru at McDonald’s or maintenance work at a golf course. Almost half of all high schoolers in America have a job and that number only increases as the summer rolls around. Working while in school comes with its own set of challenges. 

Proper work-life balance is harped on throughout every generation. While in school work-life balance becomes work, school, and life balance. For this reason, many parents have reservations about their kids working while in high school. The idea centers around the concept that “school IS your job while in high school”. That idea is totally reasonable. A 2018 study done by Georgetown University found that college students who had jobs often had lower grades and were more likely to drop out. School has to be the main priority in order for students to maintain a reasonable work school balance. That is easier said than done. 

“I have found working 15 hours a week to be more than I expected, Addison Walker(senior) said, “Homework is harder to get to when there is less time in the day. I have less social time the more I work, but you have to give some of that up as a part of having a job.” Time management is a skill that develops when a work schedule is involved much like any other extracurricular. 

Most people know the value of adept time management skills. Having that in one’s quiver helps curb procrastinating tendencies and proves useful when organizing the day. Time management is not the only prowess that can stem from a job in high school being that apt communication is a priority for every employer. Letting others know about what will be happening in regards to scheduling altercations a minimum of 2 weeks in advance is standard for most businesses. Many inexperienced workers are unaware of this going into their first job and it can be a surprise. 

This is where concise communication is expected. Not only is it expected in advance, but also while at work. Most employers are not interested in hearing more than that which is necessary, but a thorough explanation of situations that may arise is important. Time is a new worker’s best friend when developing better communication skills because not one person is good at communicating the first try. 

A job can be very rewarding for a high school student. It provides a sense of accomplishment for contributing to society in a new way. A broader community that includes people outside of the realm of high school can really open up new possibilities and new ideas that were never introduced while at school. Interacting with adults in a professional manner is important to developing social skills outside of the traditional methods. 

“For me personally, I really enjoy my job, ” Jake McDaniel (senior) said. I get to work shifts in the afternoon after school, and it is a great way for me to make a little money.” A job does not have to be a chore but can be a tool for gaining independence. What is done with the money earned is up to the person who earned it and that could very well be you. 

Having a job in high school would not make or break a person and their lifetime success. It is merely a stepping stone and a tool for those who chose to utilize it. Many parents have a lot of influence on their children’s employment status, but the choice is ultimately up to the student. The time investment isn’t worth it for everybody, but can be very rewarding for those who chose to follow that path.