Students burdened with heavy backpacks walk through the halls of Kalani High School during a break between periods. Staff photo 2018.

Jobs Take a Toll on Overloaded Students

April 19, 2018

It’s 11 p.m. on a Thursday night and you aren’t even home yet. Where are you? Oh yeah, you just got off of work, and now you need to go home, shower, and do your homework. How are you going to get all that done and still get a good night’s rest?

Well, that’s the typical schedule of a working high school student.

The more you advance in high school, the more you may notice the number of your peers who have jobs. Do you ever wonder why?

Some people may have no choice, some need to help out their families, while others may want extra cash and the freedom to buy what they want.

How does having a job interfere with your performance at school, your social life, your sports and extracurriculars, and your overall health?

In the United States, more than 1 in 4  high school students 16 years and older have jobs. According to data available on students who work more hours have lower grades and are more likely to take part in drugs and alcohol.

It also seems like more public school students have jobs in comparison to those who attend private schools.

But how true is that?

“The majority of the students at my school don’t have jobs,” Melanie Constantino says, a senior at Sacred Hearts Academy. “Most parents are not on them about it like they are about participating in school-related things and extracurriculars.” 

Even though it seems as if most private school kids aren’t in the workforce due to relatively well-off families, there are students who break this stereotype and work.

Isaac Santos, a Senior at Kamehameha School,  is a track runner, trumpet player, canoe paddler, and McDonald’s employee. Balancing everything can be stressful and often takes a toll.

“It takes a lot of sacrifice and you gotta understand that before you get into it,” Santos said. “I have a job to make my own money so I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of my parents, and to feel like I have responsibilities.”

Isaac works about 25 hours a week and is a B-average student with a full schedule.

Having a job in high school can be stressful. Getting home late means less time for homework and a social life. Kalani senior Justin Yasutake is living proof of that.

“Working causes me to have less time to study, making me stay up later than usual trying to complete homework assignments,” Justin says. “My social life is worse because all my friends have off-campus like me, but instead of going to work like I do, they go and hang out, and I’m often left out.”

The students who aren’t employed usually have a good reason.

“I don’t have a job because I don’t have enough time to work as a high school student-athlete,” Kalani senior, Ava Chan says. “I do want a job though because the money would be useful to put towards family and school.”

It seems as though we can’t accurately verify what type of school has more working students, but we can all agree that some students who are willing to work hard either way, even if it means juggling a job, academics, and sports, or just staying focused on their education.

Being employed in high school can be challenging and stressful and not everyone is cut out for it. Some want to get a head start and hustle for money, while others want to enjoy what they can before they are forced to find a job and work for the rest of their lives.

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