A Precarious Balance: School and Part-Time Jobs

Anna Chung, Reporter

High school is known to be a difficult period of life, as teens struggle to balance schoolwork, sports, clubs, and a social life. However, for some students, this isn’t the full extent of their schedules. With expenses such as gas money, going out to eat, car payments, and future college savings, part-time jobs are just one more obligation for a large majority of the student population.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, statistics show that 34% of students hold part time jobs. While this is lower than in past years, this still amounts to a little over 1 in 4 high school students who take on this additional responsibility.


Students at Briar Woods are employed at numerous businesses around the area, including Coldstone, Chipotle, Copperwood Tavern, and more. These jobs typically provide key customer service skills students do not learn in the classroom. 


“It teaches you discipline,” says Briar Woods senior Tamana Murshidi. She believes that every high schooler should have a job at one point. “If you go to college and you’ve never had a job then you go into the workforce, you don’t know what to expect, so start younger,” she advises.

However, these skills can come at a price. Tamana works at Topgolf five to six days per week, totaling around 30 hours of work. When this much time is dedicated to a part-time job, it is only natural that other areas may suffer. Schoolwork, for example, may be put on the backburner to make time for jobs and extracurricular activities.


“It can be hard to balance [my activities] because I go to work right after school, and I don’t get home until ten or eleven o’clock. By the time I get home, I’m too tired to do homework.”


Part time jobs can be a blessing and a curse. While beneficial in teaching students skills beyond the realm of school, it can be difficult to manage a part time job in conjunction with the numerous obligations of a high school student. 


The key, then, is to find a way to balance all the different aspects of life without overextending, whether that be taking only a few shifts a week, or limiting the amount of extra stressors, such as AP classes. It is a precarious balance, but learning to do so will only be beneficial in the long run as high school students move on to bigger and better things.