Written By: Maria Emmons
A young girl, sophomore in high school, Lucille, wakes up to an ear piercing alarm. 6am, time to get ready for the day. She brushes her teeth, gets dressed, and eats breakfast. Time for the day to begin. She rides the bus, like most students, and arrives at school. She goes through 6 difficult classes every day that seem like they won’t ever end. After school, it is time for work. She can barely get a meal in before she heads to the job that drains her energy like a senior draining the last bits of an oversized Redbulll. Lucille works until 9 or 10 most nights. Then, of course, she has homework, takes a shower, does chores, then she is expected to get 8 hours of sleep, and have a social life. Impossible. Students in high school that have a job in addition to being a full-time student struggle with mental health, balance, and maintaining a social life.
Students who work while going to school often struggle with their mental health. Dustin Flaker is in 11th grade at Atholton and he is also a part time cashier at Harris Teeter. He works about 10 hours per week. Dustin explained how working “takes away time from your studies so sometimes it might make it harder to get good grades, and of course more stressful.” Like many other high school students, Dustin participates in clubs, takes high level classes, and prioritizes his social life as well. He went on to explain that he often gets stressed because of how busy he is.
Many students who juggle work and school also struggle with balance. 11th grader Joey Merke works part time at Dunkin. He works about 12-15 hours per week and explained that he has a hard time achieving balance in his life while juggling so many priorities. Joey said that his top three priorities are “making money, Sasha [Joey’s girlfriend], and feeling safe and secure.” Joey went on to say that he feels that he doesn’t have enough time to work, keep up with his studies, and spend time with the people that he loves. Joey continued saying that he wishes he had more time for it all, he just doesn’t.
Lastly, students who work also have a difficult time maintaining a social life in addition to balancing work and school. According to Web MD, teens that have strong relationships in their lives can help to improve their mental health drastically, reducing feelings of stress and increasing feelings of belongingness and purpose. Therefore, it is very important for students to maintain a social life along with their other priorities. Junior Ariel Clark is a part time hostess at La Palapa Too, and works about 18-24 hours per week. When asked if working affects her social life, she replied, “Yes it affects it so much because I don’t have much social time or time to myself… when I’m not working or at school, I’m doing homework.” Ariel went on to say that because she books herself so thin, her mental health and overall well being could be much better.
Many students have trouble achieving balance and using time management skills and it shows when seemingly most students who work have trouble with both. Between the lack of a social life and difficulties with mental health, students are struggling and they need help. Students in this predicament can take the advice of their peers by maintaining healthy relationships and striving to achieve balance.