The Reality of Having a Job in High School

“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.”- Regina Brett


Photography, Jazmin Lentz

There is one thing every high schooler, with or without a job, has in common: they all have to wake up, get to school early, and go to their locker before they can start their day.

Imagine waking up early every morning to go to school, getting home late after work, staying up to do school work and take care of yourself, and then waking up the next day just to do it all over again. 


This is the reality of most high school students. Having a job while in high school can be a good thing because most teenagers like to have money to buy things on their own, but it can also be highly stressful and have a bad effect on the body and mind. Many students have to go straight to work from school. They don’t have any time to relax or hang out with friends. 


Brooklyn Damico states, “I don’t really feel left out because I don’t work on weekends so I have time to spend with my friends and family, but it doesn’t feel good when I have plans with my friends and then I have to cancel them because I have to work.” 


Going straight to work also gives students less time to do homework, study for tests, and prepare for projects. The majority of jobs that hire students don’t close until late at night. When the teen gets home they are still expected to get everything done for school and stay up to bathe, eat, and take care of all of the other things going on in their lives. Jobs can have a big negative impact on social and school life. 


Hayleigh Shell was working two jobs while still going to school. She states, “Working that much messed up my mental health. It would take me two to three hours to do homework after I got off and then I would barely get any sleep. I feel like I was left out of a lot of stuff.” 


When students can’t go to sleep early enough due to work, they have a hard time getting up in the morning, and then they are too tired to focus on their work or to listen to what their teachers are saying. Staying up too late after work and then waking up early can lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause students to become anxious, irritable, and fatigued. Sleep deprivation can also lead to students having mood swings or having a difficult time focusing or remembering in class, and it also causes students to constantly fall asleep in the middle of lessons.. 


Students who work during the school week also have a harder time going to school events and joining any teams or clubs. While some students choose to work and go to school on the same day there are some who only work weekends. Madison Lee says, “I prefer working only weekends because I can go to all the school events.” 


When students only work on the weekends they have more time to be social during the school week. There are also students who choose to only work a few hours after school each day. Kaylee Bell, who works in the STARS program at the elementary school says, “I would rather only work a few hours after school each day because…it still gives me time to get stuff done at home.” 


Although jobs can cause a lot of stress, they can also teach time management skills, build confidence, and teach teenagers the importance of budgeting money. Some teenagers enjoy work and like being able to make their own money, but others think it’s draining and exhausting and they only keep doing it because they have to. The real question is, should teens be expected to work a part time job while in high school, or should they have more time to be free and focus on their personal lives?