Maintaining a Job While in High School


Zelia Garcia

As students approach junior and senior year, many begin to become employed part-time. In the state of Arizona, there are no restrictions on how many hours a minor over the age of 16 can work a week. That means a highschool student over the age of 16 can work 20+ hour weeks while still trying to maintain good grades in their classes. This calls for some late nights staying up doing homework and a not-so-healthy sleeping schedule. Whether a student has a job to pay for bills, save up money for college, or just have some extra cash, getting school-related things completed becomes much harder.

For some people, right after they get out of school they have to go and work a 5+ shift at their job. Considering most people get out of school at 2:15, working a 5-hour shift starting at 2:30 would mean they finally get home at about 7:30. This leaves not much time to do homework and get a decent night of sleep before having to do it all again the next day. “Having a 23 hour work week on top of all of my school work is really challenging to balance. Sometimes, I feel myself putting work over school, which I know is not the way it should be at my age,” said Ainslee Frank (12). Considering people are setting themselves up for college or other things they have planned for their future, work should really be the least of students’ concerns right now. “If I close at work on a school night, I don’t get off of work until 10:30, which is really late for me. I get like 5 hours of sleep each night and I barely have time to finish my homework,” said Ryan Quinn (11). While 5 hours of sleep may technically be enough to function, 8 hours is essential to function at one’s best. Eventually, the lack of sleep and free time will catch up to a person and their grades and overall performance will show that.

In order to maintain good grades in school while having a job, setting boundaries with your work is important. “When I first got hired, I made sure to let my employer know specifically what hours I could work to make sure school still came first,” said Ariana Orlando (12). Sometimes employers may be difficult to work with and may not understand that even though a person is employed, that doesn’t mean that school becomes second. If that’s the case, teachers are very understanding too and may give some leeway when it comes to some deadlines. However, it’s important to just talk with an employer and make sure they understand one’s availability while in school so then some extra cash can be made while still getting all school work done and with a healthy sleep schedule.