Balancing School Work and After-School Jobs

by Samuel Geelan, PAW Writer


During our High School years, some Providence Academy students are searching for independence, their own money to spend on what ever they want, and after-school jobs give them the opportunity to achieve their desires, but at what cost?  Although it can be time consuming, a few extra bucks in your pocket could pay for gas, taking a date to a movie, or buying Madden NFL 15.  However, working some weeknights and weekends can lead to insufficient time for homework, meetings at Lund’s to prepare for group presentations, essay deadlines, and exams.  Trying to manage parity between thirty-five hours in class per week and a part-time job is a balancing act.

I recently interviewed three PA students who currently have after-school jobs.  The first, “entrepreneur” junior Noah Binstock developed his own businesses as a chauffer, designing workout and nutrition plans, and worked as a ski instructor.  “Binny” wants to be independent, and to pay for his fun he needed a job.  He enjoys his responsibilities picking up his neighbor kids from school and bringing them home.  On the weekends, he teaches kids how to ski.  Binny says,  “having a job has taught me time management and the value of money.”  His biggest challenge is not enough time to complete his homework or studying on occasion, however he always puts his sleep first.

Austin Duncan, a junior who works at Starbucks shared his thoughts; “I got the job to earn money for a down payment on a car lease.”  He said that trying to balance a heavy school workload along with working 15-20 hours a week has been very challenging.  His job can get annoying when he has lots of homework, or it conflicts with social plans.  Overall, Austin has learned a lot about time management, and heavy workloads from multiple sources.

Finally, Senior Joe Baird, who is employed as a host at the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka.  Joe also wanted to have his own spending money, because he did not want to ask his parents for cash.  When it comes to school, Joe’s challenge is trying to manage a work shift the night before a test. However the seasoned veteran with two years of work experience does not complain. Instead, he plans ahead and studies days in advance of his exam.  He also works with college dropouts, and has come to realize a college degree is very important because he does not want to end back at the Lafayette Club as a host forever.  Joe believes his job has taught him life lessons in time management, and the value of money because he is more careful with his spending.

To answer the question, if working fifteen hours a week after-school lowers grades you have to ask yourself if students really would spend that time studying.  Data from the Institute for Social Research, “indicated students working more than 15 hours a week begin to see adverse academic effects.”  As a result, overworked students tend to sleep more and have less family time.

From a positive perspective, PA students who work earn more than a paycheck.  These talented neophytes in the work place have learned; how to manage their time, a sense of responsibility, what it means to earn a dollar, and greater efficiency at multi-tasking.  Overall, after-school jobs offer priceless lessons that seem to outweigh the consequences of their sacrifices.  Enjoy your independence and hard earned cash, however make sure that your schoolwork gets done!