In high school, a lot of kids will get a part-time job during the school year. College is no different; many have jobs on the weekends or nights to help pay for tuition. But it’s not as easy as it seems. Balancing both a job and school can be stressful and even hard on your health. It’s okay to admit that it’s hard. Here’s some tips to help, from one student worker to another.
- If you work in food service, try not to eat the food. Fast food restaurants are popular options for a high schooler’s first job, and that’s okay. However, we often get stuck in this rut where we eat the food there every time we work. Binging on donuts, pizza, or French fries might seem like a good idea at the time, but trust me, it’s best to resist! Eat before your shift or pack a meal.
- Think about your priorities. While it’s always important to commit to your boss and your job, don’t let them consume your life. Be sure to make time for things that are important to you, like spending time with friends and getting good grades.
- Do homework whenever you can. Being busy means you have to find time to squeeze in homework assignments. Read your textbook on the school bus, whip out that worksheet after you finish a test, and if you can, do your homework at work too. Not every job will allow this, but if they do be sure to take advantage of it.
- Stay true to yourself. Try your best not to let the stress of your job change who you really are. High-stress work environments can make you impatient, angry, and hard around the edges. Don’t let any job have that effect over you.
- Know your limits. Your boss is going to pressure you into taking on more hours. You are going to want more hours to make more money. But before you say yes, just make sure you aren’t agreeing to too much. Remember that school, sports, family, and friends are important commitments as well.
- Spend your paychecks wisely. No one can tell you how to spend your money, but before you drop $80 on a T-shirt, take a second to think. Could you use that money for something more important? Saving up for your first car, apartment, or for college might be more rewarding in the long run.
- Be a good employee. I know a lot of high school kids who think it’s okay to skip work for a party or because they simply don’t feel like it. Please know that this is not okay. The habits you form now will carry with you into the real world workforce. Stay strong and power through each shift—you can do it!