Should High School Students Have Jobs During the School Year?

Brooke Sheehy, staff writer

Have you recently turned 16 years old? Do you have a family car to drive with your brand new license? Wondering whether or not to get a part-time job during the school year? There are several possible benefits to pursuing this cliché high school schedule, but in my opinion there are more drawbacks to having a part-time job during the school year in the long run.

If you examine the loss of study time, having a job may be all for nothing. Several studies conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have concluded that on each day a high school student works, they lose an average of at least 49 minutes of study time, which could potentially drop a grade from an A to a C. Increasing time on math homework by half an hour every day could raise a grade up two grade letters, so it makes sense that spending less time doing work could lead to underperformance. The drop in grades creates a domino effect. The choices you have for colleges shrink because the likelihood of acceptance diminishes, and financial aid options will go towards the students who have better grades. At this point, having a job during high school may seem like a complete waste to your future. I believe that refraining from having a job during the school year and having school be your  “full-time” job will end up paying off more in the end, and will feel more rewarding as you will be more successful from working hard in the books for knowledge, as opposed to slacking off for a little extra cash.

Don’t let having a job cut your childhood short,  because you have your whole life ahead of you to work. In college you’re going to have to work to pay off student loans, your first car, house, food, gas, and when you get older have a family and all the expenses that come along with it. Having a job during high school is more unnecessary stress added to teens, who already have the highest stress levels out of any age demographic because of academics and other social aspects of high school.

In high school you shouldn’t be learning how to develop relationships with customers. You should be figuring out who you are as a person, what your passions are, and creating interpersonal skills through socializing with your peers to develop relationships with people that will be there for you in the future when you most need them. The probability of finding those people by handing them their dry cleaning on an early Saturday morning is slim to none. High school is a time to enjoy your youth with friends and to become active in extracurricular activities that you are passionate about. When you graduate, you should leave believing that you made the most out of your high school experience with no regrets, and I believe that having a job during the school year detracts from that sentiment.

In my second year of high school, participating in the hardest classes I can take, I feel a lot of pressure to become the typical Edina student with the best of the best grades, and I find myself spending a majority of my time trying to reach perfection. Spending as much time as I do on school work, I know that having a part-time job would leave me either sleep deprived with school work completed by a zombie, or well rested with blank pages to hand in.  In the end, both outcomes leave me with bad grades, more stress, and end up leading me away from my future goals.

In the long run, as a high school student, I believe that having a job during the school year is only detrimental to the future because it takes time away from what truly matters most at this point in time; school, friends and family, and the final years of enjoyment to simply be a kid.