Double the work with school and jobs


Skylar Cassel

Kevin Lingelbach (12) scooping Italian ice at his Rita's Italian Ice job on February 18, 2018. Though he's a working student, he's also a member of the National Honor Society, proving that it's possible to do well in a job and in school at the same time.


Lots of students at Patterson Mill have or are considering having a job, but it can be very stressful to balance school and a job at the same time. It’s definitely possible, though. Jobs are very valuable to high school students for many reasons; it teaches them how to act in a professional environment, builds their resume, helps them develop a work ethic, teaches them the value of money, and helps them manage their time. However, it’s well-known that both school and jobs are big stressors in the lives of students, and so those who deal with both at the same time may struggle with keeping up in both fields. So what should a student consider before starting a job? What do they do about their massive amounts of schoolwork when they start working at that job? There’s no need to panic, for there are many different ways that a working student can successfully juggle both their job and their schoolwork.

Any student deciding where they want to work, or if they should even work a job at all, has to consider how it will affect their academics. They also must consider their mental health, which is arguably the most important part of this consideration; a student shouldn’t overwhelm themselves with their occupation. It is recommended that students watch how many hours they’ll have to work for their job, because too much time spent at said job could negatively affect a student’s grades and mental health. As stated by, “students who work more than 15 to 20 hours per week often experienced decreased school success.” Evan Malloy, a junior who works at Chick-fil-A, recommends looking for a job that’s “low pressure and has flexible hours and…to look at all your options before you apply and just play it smart.” Kevin Lingelbach, a senior who works at Rita’s Italian Ice, agrees with this statement, claiming that he keeps up with school and his job by “[working] 20 or less hours, at least during the school year, because that makes it a lot easier to keep up with the work.”

It’s not just the hours, though; the days that students have to work on can be a problem, too. Alex Harvin, a senior who works at Five Below, stresses that “[you should] make sure that you outline the exact days that you want to work….Just so that you know what days you have free for homework. It helps you manage your schoolwork a lot better.” Though some students may not have a choice in getting a job due to personal or financial reasons, they should make sure that whatever job they have doesn’t interfere with their schoolwork and, in turn, the education that’s needed for them to have a bright future. It is critical for students, whether they have a job or not, to always focus on their education so that they’re able to get bigger and better jobs and opportunities later in life. Once a student has started working their job, they have to figure out how they’re going to keep their grades up, as well.

Many students, including Alex Harvin and Kevin Lingelbach, believe that the hardest part of having a job while also being in school is splitting their time between school and their occupation. Time management is crucial for a working student to succeed, and many classes, especially honors and AP classes, assign students a large amount of homework. One way to stay on top of all those papers with a job is to set up a schedule. It may seem daunting to complete this homework while still working hours after school, but it can be accomplished if a student plans around their job’s hours. Looking at the times that a student must work and comparing it to the amount of homework they have can help them set up a schedule. They should plan to work on homework around the times that they have to go to their job, completing homework in top priority classes first and then fitting in the other homework whenever they can. Getting a bit of progress each day on long-term projects and pacing themselves is a great way for students to prevent school projects from overwhelming them and interfering with their job. In order to maximize the helpfulness of a schedule, Ahmad Abdulmujib, a junior who works at Dunkin’ Donuts, states that students with jobs should “make sure you can fit everything in your schedule with comfortable timing, and if not, cut out anything that…will not benefit you in the long run.” If a student has assigned times to focus on their schoolwork and separate times to focus on their job, then it will be easier for them to keep track of what must be done and encourages them to do their best in both fields.

Another way to be both a good student and a good employee is to take advantage of free time. If a student finds themselves ahead in class, then they should do homework for other classes if the teacher permits it. This can apply to after school as well; instead of a student absently scrolling through their phone in short periods of free time, they can try and squeeze in some homework time before whatever they need to do afterward. By using any available time to get their homework done, they allow themselves more free time later and less stress about finishing their homework on a work day. Alex Harvin remarks that “you need to compensate for the [time] that you’re working by finding extra time outside of school and work to get your work done.” Though these tips can assist any student with ajob on their own, they don’t take in to account the benefit of the help of others.

Skylar Cassel
Alex Harvin (12) working the register at his Five Below job on February 19, 2018. Managing school and work hasn’t been his only challenge; he’s also had to deal with thieves and a dumpster diver at his job.

There are many things in life that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do alone. Dealing with the large amounts of stress from juggling a job and schoolwork can be one of those things. Because of this, it’s encouraged for students to form study groups or group chats with peers, even if they don’t have a job, as a form of support and help for when they need it. It can greatly benefit a student to study for an exam with friends or have others help them with a math problem that they don’t understand. It can make all the difference in how a student with a job is able to complete and understand the material in their classes. It can also relieve some of the stress from working and studying just by being around friends. Students with jobs shouldn’t be afraid to get help from friends, peers, and even teachers if they’re struggling in a class due to decreased studying time and increased stress from work. In many cases, others can be a very valuable resource, and dealing with the stress and workload of both school and a job is one of those times.

Though it’s difficult for high school students to successfully work a job and keep good grades, they’ll be able to do it if they just remember that time management is key and that there are several methods available to them. Scheduling their work days on days that’s convenient for them, using their free time wisely, and getting help from others are all great ways for a student to keep their grades, work performance, and mental health up. Working a job while being in high school may not be for everyone, and that’s okay, but it’s important that those who do have the tools to learn how to keep up.