The Pros & Cons to Working While in High School

Emma Murphy, Staff Writer

As one grows into adulthood, they also grow into new bills, responsibilities, and priorities. Working after school jobs does not serve as a modern idea, but the growing number of after school demands makes it increasingly more difficult for students to maintain these jobs.

Student participation levels in sports, clubs, after school groups, etc. rise over time. Those in Quakertown Community High school participate just as frequently. Students gather their working papers as soon as possible to apply for after school and weekend jobs. High school students enter the age of paying for their own bills as they gain more independence. These can include buying a car, paying for car insurance, paying a phone bill, amongst other bills.

Students like senior Logan Archambault apply for jobs at local grocery stores, gas stations, or even family owned businesses. Archambault works at his local Giant grocery story and he enjoys his breaks at work, and working with coworkers from our school. In regards to after school jobs, he feels that, “if you can maintain it, it is good for you.” During his interview, he mentioned the importance of time management and balancing all of one’s priorities strategically.

Although, some students maintain positive attitudes towards their after school jobs the situation can vary. Administrative intern Mr. Soto experienced this as a high school student working after school jobs. As a student, he worked at a catering company occasionally on weekdays, and primarily on the weekends. He learned the trick of the trade and was eventually able to become a higher up at his workplace and work on management.

Despite his positive experience holding an after school job he feels expectations only grew. He explained how, “the expectations are way higher than when I was a child. I understand the issues of balancing your plate as a current high school student.” He went on to list what he felt was on students’ schedules and it included school, work, sports, chores at home, & homework. This extensive list of obligations often leads to a lack of sleep and preparedness within students.

Later start times serve as a proposed solution to these issues. When Mr. Soto heard about this idea, he said, “I feel like it is circular, the students will still spend the same amount of time doing the same things, starting later only equals later nights.” Students are not getting the sleep they need due to the overwhelming amount of priorities in their lives.

The way to solve this as explained by Mr. Soto is an increase in communication between students, parents, teachers, and employers. Essentially, he felt as though the only way to form a balance is to work together to help students manage their time.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has an established set of labor laws for children that specify the number of hours children can work on school days, and during the week as a whole. According to Education PA, these laws prohibit student workers from working late nights during the school year, and working too many hours. Some students work around this by working multiple jobs.

Due to the unfortunate lack of communication and balance, students will continue to struggle with their time management. The integration of communication between parents, students, teachers, as well as employers could serve as a way to improve the situation.