How to Effectively Balance School and Work

Hailey Ung, Staff Writer

One of the many things that add to the stress of high school is having a job. One in four high school students have an after-school job which they must balance along with their homework, extracurriculars, and other outside commitments. However, when student are unable to find the balance between school and their jobs, there are many adverse effects that could occur.

In a study by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, researchers found many detrimental correlations between the amount of hours that a student works and his or her schooling. Studies showed that with an increase of hours that students work, comes an increase of school absences and likelihood to dropout of school. Along with that, the research showed after-school jobs to have a negative effect on GPA, standardized test scores, and increase the chances of drug abuse, alcohol use, and delinquency. On top of all of a student’s other activities and commitments, adding a job to the load increases stress and detracts from time that could be spent studying, doing homework, or participating in other enjoyed activities. Trying to both work and do well in school at the same time can lead to doing worse in both. Because your time and attention is divided, you cannot put your full effort and concentration into one activity, causing both your work and school performance to suffer.

After school jobs are still beneficial to your life, though, in the skills they teach you which you will use later in life. One very important skill that will be needed in the future is interviewing. Interviewing for an after school job helps you hone your ability that will be needed for later job opportunities or college interviews.  Working after school teaches time management and people skills, as well as how to problem solve. It also helps students gain experience and make connections with the working adult world. Places of work can be added to college applications, showing that you have skills beyond that of studying and doing well on a test to further prove that you should be admitted to that school. Making connections with people in the working world is also advantageous for your future when you are looking for jobs after schooling or are in need of recommendations. After school jobs also provide opportunities to explore your interests and possible careers paths that appeal to you.  

When asked about her after school job, Sophomore Tiffany Ng, who works at Mathnasium, said that having an after school job allows her a couple hours of break from thinking about school and gives her the opportunity to experience new things. Tiffany said that to keep from being overwhelmed, she does some of her homework in advance so that it doesn’t pile up after work. “Just make sure that you plan ahead and only work the amount of days that you are comfortably able to,” supplied Tiffany. Junior, William Kim, who works at In-N-Out, said that he avoids getting overwhelmed by work by planning accordingly and because his work is very understanding about both his academic and extracurricular scheduling conflicts. When     asked about the positives of his after school job, William replied, “The benefits for me are pocket cash and an improved idea of the differences between school and the workplace in the future.” To keep your school and work life balanced, William suggested working at a job that is sympathetic to your academic life and prioritizing what you feel is important.

Working an after school job has many benefits, but it can also easily become too much if you don’t find a balance between work and school. One of the best ways to find that balance is to plan ahead and not overload yourself. Allow yourself to find opportunities for new experiences, but also to prioritize what is important to you so that you can reap the benefits of the job and not overwork yourself at the same time.

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