Balancing school and a job


Izzy DeFlitch

School work can build up when managing time between having a job and doing homework.

Wake up, get to school, go to work, complete homework, sleep, repeat. Everyday is a busy non-stop cycle of school and sports, and on top of all of that working for hours at an after school job, which causes many students to question how it’s possible to balance it all.

Despite being able to earn a decent amount of money, having a job can become very stressful for Norwin High School students. Having a job reduces the amount of time students can spend focusing on more important things like sleep and school work, creating more stress and less time to do school work to the best of their ability.

According to research performed by College Board, students who work more than 15 to 20 hours per week often experience decreased school success. 

In Norwin’s case, students are working during the school week and experience those 15 to 20 hours.

In a recent Norwin poll of over 40 Norwin students, over 90 percent of students work over 6 hours a week, 40 percent work 15 to 20 hours, and 14 percent work over 20 hours.

Some students happen to be overworked and are working more than a high school student should legally be working. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, any minor 15 and under can only work no more than 18 hours on a regular school week and any minor 16 or older cannot be employed more than 28 hours in a regular school week.

I think it’s a great starting point for high school students to have a job

— Norwin High School Guidance Counselor, Daniel Conwell

Students have more than just a job keeping them away from their academic work, Norwin students are also involved in sports and activities.

In the same Norwin poll, 76 percent of students are involved in some kind of sport or extra curricular activity.

Working so many hours and being involved in sports over the course of the school year has caused students to be burdened with stress and little time.

“It gives me a lot less time to study and complete homework,” said Bella Ulery (10).  “On nights that I work I’m barely able to get any schoolwork done because I’m exhausted and don’t have a lot of time.”

Having less time to work isn’t the only case; for some Norwin students, their lack of time shows through their grades and academic performance.

“I have seen students that have been negatively affected just because of the amount of hours they’re putting in on that part time work,” said Norwin High school guidance counselor, Daniel Conwell “I’ve had students that leave here at 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon after school and go directly to work and work until 9:00 or 10:00. I think it wears them down. I’m not sure of their productivity at work, but I have noticed that their productivity at school has diminished significantly. I’m leery of how many hours to work.”

Although having a job burdens students, there are also positive qualities that students are able to receive.

However, according to research by Walden University, having a job can teach the value of money, management skills, and decrease violence.

Additionally, being involved in a job can teach students life skills and responsibilities.

“I think the biggest thing students benefit from is time management and understanding priorities,” said Conwell. “If students have a job during the school year it teaches them tremendous time management skills in order to not only be productive at work, but also not forget about the real production, and that’s school work.”

Many students have noticed positive changes in their learning because of their job.

“I think it has definitely helped me manage my time more,” Gabi Astrab(10) said.

Despite the negative consequences having a job can arise, students appreciate the positive things that it brings them.

In a recent Norwin poll, over 90 percent of students believe that having a job is worth it considering the effect it has on their life.

Norwin students notice that it can be a positive opportunity.

“Having a job helps to build fundamental skills such as responsibility and discipline,” said Trevor Neil (10). “It can be important in providing the right mindset that can be used in various situations later on in life.”

Starting to build necessary skills early on in life has been shown be an important aspect of having a job to Norwin High School students.

“I think it’s a great starting point for high school students to have a job,” Conwell said.