Learning and Earning: How to Do Both


Emily Duong, Contributor

As you get older, you have certain things that you want or need to buy. And how do you buy that? With money, of course! However, those little green papers do not fall from the sky, so you have to find some way to make money to buy things. While you are in high school, though you are most likely still under your parents’ roof and they are providing for you, you may want to be more independent, or make your own money to buy your own things that your parents do not want to “waste money” on. So a solution to this is getting a part-time job. Whether it is a restaurant, fast food, or retail, there are so many possible places to work and make bank. However, you are still in school and have classes to do work in. So how do you balance a part-time job and school simultaneously?

In a survey of 39 Bob Jones students, the split between those who have/had a part-time job versus those who did not was 17 to 22, with almost all students who have/had a part-time job being juniors or seniors. The part-timers’ main reasons for getting a job were to earn money, whether it was for personal expenses or to have spending money for non-essentials. Some people needed to be more productive with free time, while some wanted to save up for college later. Some even took a co-op block to be able to dedicate one of their blocks to part-timing in exchange for a credit. From personal experience, I got a part-time job to save up for college later as well as have money to buy personal goodies.

Part-time jobs can be very enjoyable and give you perks and skills, which is why so many older high schoolers do them to gain work experience before going out into the real world. From the survey, the students found their coworkers kind and fun to hang out with while working, and most students enjoyed working in some shape or form. Senior Christine Pham said from her workplace, she receives things such as “[f]ree boba, staff discounts, free merch.” She also became “friends with everyone working there including my boss” and was “treated like family, [the boss] takes us to eat out sometimes, and friends visit you a lot.”

Money and work experience are the two most mentioned benefits of working part-time. Working also gives you people skills and patience, which will be very useful in your adult life. You get to meet and work with wonderful people that may become friends, and even get free or discounted food or other items. At the food place I work, for instance, every employee gets a free meal every shift, so that is nice. And of course, as Junior Baraka Busambwa puts it: “If you’re thinking about getting a job, consider the following: You get money.”

Balancing a part-time and school can be a bit tricky, but if you know how much you can handle and also are somewhat good at time management (or at least manage to finish what needs to be done with a decent-ish amount of sleep every night), you are definitely going to be fine. For instance, every person in the survey work(ed) at least one weekend to not completely work after a school day, where 87 percent work(ed) on Saturday, 53 percent on Sunday. Junior Sydney Wilson said that she only works weekends to “limit the stress of balancing work and homework after school,” and Junior Bella Valentin said that the best way to balance school and work is by “only working weekends, requesting time off when I have schedule conflicts, [and] doing homework when I get home from work.” Those who additionally work(ed) a weekday work(ed) after school, starting their shifts around four in the afternoon, or if their fourth block is a co-op block at the end of the day, they start(ed) their job earlier. As for homework after work on a school day, it is important to have your priorities straight. Busambwa said when he gets home from his weekday shifts at six, “[i]t’s straight to school work. The quicker you finish the work, the faster you can go to sleep.”

However, there are drawbacks to part-time working while in school, so you need to be prepared. Senior Sam Krueger said that their main drawback of part-timing was that it “[l]iterally devours your soul and free time.” It is also natural to be more tired due to working. You have less time with others, and rude customers are not exactly the best. Even your coworkers may be annoying, like if they do not do their work properly. It can get overwhelming to balance all your homework with actual work with all the time-consumption and stress that may come from part-timing, but the best advice I can give is to not work too much to make sure you still have some time to relax during the week, as well as a slot of time before or after work to get any homework done. Valentin stated, “If you think you can balance it with school, then you can get a job, but if you are already busy, don’t– it’s just going to add more stress.” Junior Marjorie Baumbach said even with less time with friends and family, “I get to know some great people, I learn lots of methods for customer service (aka people skills), and I get to save money for college.”

In the end, is a part-time job worth it while still juggling school? The majority of the students in the survey said yes, but, as Kruger puts it, “Don’t be afraid to back out if it’s destroying the very fabric of your existence.” Having some money before starting college or just having cash for your enjoyment can really be a great thing for you. Senior Liz Gonzalas said, “It is important to get experience in the workforce before graduation, so you should do it! You can also make some good friends at work.”

With so many businesses currently short-staffed, part-timing can keep your favorite small businesses, retails, and restaurants afloat. Many students in the survey said that working in small businesses is a good place to start part-timing, but it really depends on your interests. Baumbach said that “if [you] have the time to work a part-time job and actually want to do it, then [you] should go for it. Just start slow, don’t throw yourself into it before you know you can work around it.”

With all the benefits and money that you can gain from getting a part-time job, why not be a little more independent and make bank while you are in school. If you are ready for it, go earn some cash!