MSD students pursue part-time jobs in high school while balancing school work


Tribune News Service

Borah High School students, from left, Katy Sword, 17, Lane Wade, 15, and Tucker Nelson, 18, have a bite to eat after band practice, February 3, 2009 in Boise, Idaho. Sword works two part-time jobs to afford food, gas, clothes and the expenses that come with being in the high school band. (Kerry Maloney/Idaho Statesman/MCT)

Celeste Haim, Writer

The last bell of the school day finally rings and the halls loudly fill with an abundance of students. While many people take their time walking to the gates, others realize they have work today and rush through the slow crowds, passing people left and right.

Many students spend the time they have after school and on weekends working at their jobs, causing them to learn how to balance their school responsibilities with their work commitments. Students have different ways of balancing their tasks as well as differing opinions on the best way to do so.

For a long time, employment rates in students had been dropping. In the last few years, more and more students across the nation, including those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have been working.

“In April, employers added 428,000 jobs and wages grew by a solid 5.5% year-over-year,” the Consumer News and Business Channel said.

Since the increase of jobs and wages, students across all grades are transitioning from a life containing just school, to one with school and work.

Due to the decrease in teenage employment, students have had to learn to balance their life. There have been several studies done, yet there has not been one explicit reason as to why more students are seeking employment.

“In July 2022, there were 21.0 million employed 16-to-24-year-olds. Between April and July, the number of employed youths rose by 2.1 million, or 11.4 percent,” the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

As more students are getting jobs again, they must learn to balance the commitment of work with their current lives. There are multiple reasons that students work, all of which vary depending on personal circumstances and goals. Teenagers may work to gain experience, step out of their comfort zone, help their family or earn extra money.

“I work to have a little extra spending money,” sophomore McKayla McLaughlin said. “I like to have spending money to hang out with my friends, go to the mall, and maybe buy things for my friends who have paid for me before.”

Numerous students work for extra money to use for themselves across America, including students at MSD. Other students work to have a sense of independence, to learn about their community or to further their experience in a potential career. Many stores offer teenagers the chance to work when they reach a certain age; for example, Publix begins hiring at 14 years old and Walmart starts hiring at 16.

“I work at a Sunday school,” senior Maddie Klitsberg said. “I chose it because I enjoy working with children.”

Students take part in work all over the community and can learn several things from doing so, such as how to maintain a balanced life and how to better themselves as people. Working may also make students more well-rounded people.

“Being able to talk to people and [being] able to withstand stressful situations [is something work helps with],” freshman Yo Yo Li said.

Learning life skills from a job while still in school is something many students find to be enriching; it is a way to have more than one source of education and it is a good experience to prepare for the real world.

Balancing work and school can be challenging for some students, as they may have to give up possible shifts to study, or studying time to work.

More and more students are developing a complex understanding on how to manage work and school. The trend may continue to rise; thus, more students may become interested in securing jobs. An increase in student employment from 2020, is a new idea students in society are becoming more accustomed to. Additionally, students can learn new skills, like confrontation and time management.

There are many ways students balance their occupied lives, such as not working on days where school may be overwhelming, getting work done early or only working on weekends.

“I make sure I do all of my homework before work so I can focus on helping my students, as well as any other extracurriculars,” Klitsberg said.

Students are increasingly busy and are taking on new careers, while still fulfilling their responsibilities in school. Teens are also learning how to balance everything and succeed in school.

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, employment rates dropped across all demographics. Now, they are on the rise again. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 55.3 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds were employed in July of 2022, an increase of 0.9 percent from the prior year.

As students go about their working journey, they begin to understand how to manage a life containing work and school responsibilities. With many ways to do so, and ways to learn from their jobs, different students are working so they can make money and act as a part of the community. The employment trend is expected to continue rising as more students pursue jobs during the school year and throughout the current recession.