Working Students

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  In the dawn of adulthood, high school students across the United States are taking minimum wage paying jobs during their school year- and it’s proving to be detrimental for most. This four year period of youth is proven to be confusing and cursed with an amplitude of external and internal conflicts. Summer jobs, part time jobs, and even full time jobs have dominated after school hours. Data from the U.S. Census shows one in four American high school students age 16 or older work. But why do they do it? 

“I worked because my parents aren’t rich and I wanted to be independent” former Klein student Raul Bautista said, “I was in choir and I wanted to participate in the trips which required a lot of money that I had to provide myself”.

With any motivation there is to working while in High School, many students show signs of stress and overload. Getting that paycheck every week or so comes with the heavy  responsibility of balancing student life and home life on top of their work. It can be so overwhelming that some students don’t make it past summer break with their part time job.

“I quit because they were overworking me and I didn’t have time to focus on school,” said Aria Stults about her part time job at HEB.

“Working frequent late shifts during the school week was just too stressful and tiring” said anonymous Klein student.

For those students that didn’t quit their jobs, however, the struggle goes beyond balance and straight into prioritizing. Students will often choose easier classes in order to focus more on work. Financial independence is a strong push factor that can lead a student into academic indifference.

“My dad had been pushing me to work…money didn’t come easy,” said former Klein student Carson Lane, “I balanced my schedule by making sure I had a day off during the weekend to catch up on schoolwork I didn’t get done during the week”.

Not all students, however, get to choose their academic vs. financial high school experience. Many families aren’t financially privileged and require their children to get a job in order to help out with the bills or cover personal finances that the parents can’t help with. 

“Usually I hear from the parents asking for money for utility money, food, clothing, etc.  I probably get at least one of these cases each week.” said Judi Herold, “The other type of financial issue I get very frequently is the need for a therapist or psychological assessments. I get about 10 of these a week”. 

Students with financial disabilities either feel the need to not be a financial burden and help their family or are pushed to work by their parents. The prevalence of this issue results in a great number of students referring to crisis counselors or needing therapy work. If academic responsibilities alone can overwhelm a student, then adding work into the mix is sure to have negative psychological ramifications.

 “Working frequent late shifts during the school week was just too stressful and tiring,” said an anonymous Honors Student.