By Tom Claffey ‘19
As students progress into adulthood many are beginning their first jobs. But does their employment distract them from getting the most out of their education?
Balancing a school week alongside a work week is a hard task by any standard, with time management, deadlines, long days, and sometimes even no weekends, but much more so for those in the final year of high school. Yet many seniors have to figure out a way to manage both.
Brianna Moss, a senior, is one of those students.
“I’ve worked at Pat’s Pizza and currently at Party City. After leaving Pat’s it took me from December until July to find another job.” Brianna said. “It’s my second job, so I don’t have trouble balancing work and school. I prioritize school.”
Sam Barnard, senior, works at Chill Out in Leedom, swims, and attends Ridley.
“I don’t struggle with balancing the two. My priorities are school, sports, work in that order.”
Austin Mahle, another senior, works only weekends and also sees school as his top priority
“I work at Pendle Hill, in Wallingford, an average of five hours a week. It’s my first job, but I don’t have any trouble with balancing work and school.”
Aidan Maloney, senior, works at Longhorn Steakhouse but struggles a bit with the balance.
“You have to be able to divide time evenly between work stuff and school work. Doing homework before work is really good for me.”
Mr. Louth is Ridley’s work study coordinator. Work study provides an opportunity for students to leave school early and earn credit by working.
“The balance between work and school depends on the student. Some students prioritize work. Most students balance the two well,” Mr. Louth said. “Student’s most frequent obstacle in the working world are age requirements for certain jobs. The program has also changed from pass/fail to a graded course where students must enter their schedules in canvas and complete a reflection every week.”
Mr. Ayers, who teaches senior English and is a parent of two working aged teenagers, sees some of the issues that come between school and work.
“My oldest doesn’t work during the week, other than babysitting, so he prioritizes school. I like that he works occasionally on weekends doing odd jobs or cutting grass. My oldest daughter babysits too and studies ballet. The schedule teaches them time management and gives them some spending money. Ideally as students get older more should work. It teaches them valuable skills like responsibility, time management, and helps develop communication.”
Working part time and going to school is no easy task, but neither is life. It is very important that students learn how to balance the two sooner than later.