A different challenge

SHS students try to find a balance between work and school


Kelsey Jones

Nayeli Ahuatl posa para una foto con su camiseta de trabajo de Subway. Ahuatl a veces lucha por equilibrar la escuela y el trabajo.

Nearly 30% of high school students in the U.S. have part-time jobs at some point in their high school career, according to Walden University, who did a study on the effects of part-time jobs on high school students. SHS students are included in this statistic.

Some SHS students feel that balancing work and school can be extremely difficult, and that these jobs can have an affect on the students’ academic and social lives, especially during the times of COVID-19.

Senior Gloria Tello-Tepehua thinks that having a job as a teen isn’t such a great idea unless it is necessary because it could be harmful to their lives as students.

“If they really do need the job, then it’s beneficial for them,” Trello-Tepehua said. “But if not, I wouldn’t take the job, because then your priorities get mixed up.” 

However, other students like senior Mercy Cuai believe that having a part-time job would be beneficial for students’ futures, and it would have great benefits.

“I would recommend getting a job during high school so that you can get prepared in the future, maybe in college, to have good time management,” Cuai said.

Tello-Tepehua and Cuai both have part-time jobs, and though they have differing opinions on whether students should have work in high school, both say that having part-time jobs in high school definitely had effects on their school life.

They both agree that having a part-time job requires the sacrifice of other enjoyable activities that students could take part in, as well as the sacrifice of time and sleep. 

Similarly to Tello-Tepehua and Cuai, Senior Nayeli Ahuatl doesn’t enjoy missing out on extracurricular activities in order to have a part-time job. 

“When I am at work, I miss out on the opportunities of joining clubs and going to the football games and other things,” Ahuatl said. “I think that having a part-time job really ruins the whole high school experience.”

However, Cuai said that even though students must make these sacrifices, it is worth it.

“The activities, like the clubs and all that, it doesn’t really help out,” Cuai said. “And having a job and having money to manage makes me feel more independent and ready for the world.”

Tello-Tepehua said that she often finds herself putting her job first and knows that it isn’t always the best choice, but it often must be done. This results in her struggling with schoolwork.

She also thinks it is important to communicate with employers, so they know the situation and can help students stay on track.

“Talk to your employer. Try to set out a schedule, and set out what’s a good layout and how you could do work and school,” said Tello-Tepehua. 

Cuai thinks that being organized is an important step to keeping herself on track. She suggests that students create a schedule to help keep them from falling behind.

“Write all of the things, all the assignments and the work schedule for a week or two ahead,” Cuai said. “And have a daily to-do list.”

Ahuatl also thinks that organization is important, but keeps herself organized in a different way. She keeps track of all of her classes, rather than her assignments. 

“I actually have this notepad where I write all of my classes down,” Ahuatl said. “and I just put a check mark when I am done with that class.”

Students say that the pandemic has had effects on balancing their schedules as well. With the pandemic this year and the new rules set in place, students say that they find it even harder to balance work and school.

 “I didn’t have to really do a lot last year since we would go to school, do all my work there, and I would have enough free time for leisure in between school and work,” Tello-Tepehua said. “Last year, it was easier to do my school work, and right now, I feel like it is harder to find any time.”

For Ahuatl, the pandemic not only affects her but it also affects the place she works at. She has had to work fewer hours due to the changes the restaurant she works at has put in place.

Although balancing school and work can be difficult and stressful, and this school year definitely looks different, Cuai thinks enjoying it is the most important part.

“Working hard is good, but also make sure to have fun,” Cuai said. “Otherwise, you will get burnt out, and you don’t want that.”