Juggling School and Work



Dylan Jernigan, Guest Columnist

Most high school students acquire the desire to have a job at some point during their high school career. Some people may feel that they need a job because they want to be more independent and less reliant on their parents. Others are more forced into it by reasons such as a parent’s lack of support or their responsibility to pay bills. Despite what their reasoning may be, many students still struggle with deciding if this is the right decision to make. With an education on the line, many people wonder how much a job will affect their academic performance.

During the first semester of my senior year, this was a decision I struggled with myself. After putting in so much work to stay in the top of my class, I wondered if having a job would jeopardize what I was able to accomplish. I decided to go through with getting a job despite my doubts. I found it to be even harder than I ever expected to be. Having a job got in the way of everything. I found myself constantly canceling my plans with my family and friends so that I could work. I also struggled with completing my homework and studying for tests. Even though I didn’t always get out at late hours, work still took a heavy toll on my academics. I never took into account how much stress my body would be in. I discovered that trying to do any type of school work after work would be insanely hard because my body was so fatigued from moving around and being on my feet the whole day. Additionally, I found it hard to get any sleep, especially if I did my homework. It got so bad that some weeks I would only go to sleep for three hours at a time. Getting a job was truly one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life, and everyday I wish I never even filled out an application.

It is impossible for me to do homework, and I never really get any sleep at night.

— Brandon Harper

Brandon Harper, a current senior, weighs in on juggling yet another thing along with a job and school. Unlike me, Brandon has been able to work while also going to school and playing sports. He works full time and still manages to show up to every practice and sporting event. Although he appeared to be juggling all three things pretty well, he still had some of the same problems that I had. He says that, “It is impossible for me to do homework, and I never really get any sleep at night.” This shows that there is always something you have to be willing to sacrifice if you want to work.

Even though Brandon and I had bad experiences trying to juggle school and work, don’t let that completely sway you against getting a job. What you really have to take into account is how much you can handle. Only work hours that you believe you can work and still be able to take care of your other responsibilities. You also have to be upfront with your employer. If you feel that they are overstepping in their scheduling make sure that you confront your boss directly about it. It is best to alleviate work problems early so that they don’t make the rest of your life toxic. Also, you have to recognize whether you are the type of student that can still function with few hours of sleep or get all of your work done on shorter time. If you are able to manage your time wisely and enjoy the place you are employed, I guarantee that you will not have a negative working experience.