Students maintain a balance between work and school

Peyton Terry


Many students at Graham High School have jobs. Having a job can possess many advantages and disadvantages for high school students. One in four high school students work in the U.S. A total of 3 million students are out working. Most work only part-time and only 1% work full time. Many students must hold jobs to help with their family’s finances. Working can teach many students valuable lessons and responsibilities. Time management skills and good work ethics are examples of many qualities taught. Although balancing school, sports, and work can be difficult for students. Many studies have reported student’s grades starting to fall with the addition of new jobs. Another issue is students having to find time to work if they are involved in sports and still finding time to do homework.


There are very specific rules in order for students to be able to work in high school. Fifteen- sixteen-year-olds, in order to be able to work, must be hired only during non-school hours and only work up to three hours on a school day. They can work a maximum of 18 hours a week when there is school. They may work up to 8 hours on non-school days and up to 40 hours when there is no school during the week. Students who are sixteen and seventeen can work unlimited hours in non-hazardous jobs. A student who is eighteen may work unlimited hours and are not barred from hazardous jobs. Senior Hunter Fox works at Lowes in the evenings. “I really like my job. I think it is very easy, and I have good hours that do not interfere with school,” said Fox. He works on average 30-35 hours a week, and it doesn’t give him any problems.


Many students face issues with trying to balance school and work. Research has shown that many students do not take good care of themselves when they have such busy schedules. They may lose lots of important sleep and become very fatigued over time. Their grades may fall if students do not put aside enough time to study and do homework. With such a busy workload students may have to give up extracurricular activities and sports. Along with after-school activities, homework, and work students may struggle not being able to have any free time outside of their busy schedules. Senior Jazmine Scarberry works at Food City after school. “I really like my job and it is very easy to get there after school,” said Scarberry. She is involved in sports and said it can be difficult to balance practices and work. She claimed that she never has time for homework and has to do it most of the time before class starts.


With the negatives of high school jobs, there are many positives to contradict them. Working out in the real world gives students the opportunity to make their own money and learn how to budget. It can prepare students for when they become adults and must deal with their own finances. Responsibility is a big thing that comes with working as a high school student. Students must not only be responsible with their money but with their time in order to be able to balance it all. They must keep a schedule to have a sufficient amount of time to do school work and still be able to work. Working high schoolers gain amazing work ethics and are able to accomplish so many things that will ultimately help them in the future as well. A big factor is that students working are able to stay focused and not get into trouble or make rash decisions. Senior Howie Spencer works at Fincastle Country Club in the Pro shop. “I work on the weekends so work does not affect school at all for me,” said Spencer. His job in his opinion is perfect and doesn’t affect his sports practices or games at all.


Many students have jobs at Graham High School. It takes time management skills to be able to keep up with normal high school life and a job. Working can create many issues for students, but bring great opportunities for students to not only make money but learn many valuable lessons. Working molds students to prepare them for the real world after high school. These skills can prepare them to keep up with their own finances and to become independent.