Saxon Scribe

Students in the workforce

Kaylee+Kalvig+awaits+her+next+customer+in+the+check+out+line+at+Jewel.+
Kaylee Kalvig awaits her next customer in the check out line at Jewel.

Kaylee Kalvig awaits her next customer in the check out line at Jewel.

Karly Balslew

Karly Balslew

Kaylee Kalvig awaits her next customer in the check out line at Jewel.

Karly Balslew, Scribe Reporter

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Being a teenager in 2018 may be stress-free for some, yet for a significant portion of high students, stress comes with the territory. Much of that stress comes from the demands of being a full time student while participating in extracurricular activities. In addition to school-related expectations, many teens work jobs. Whether they are contributing to household finances, saving in preparation for college tuition, or just trying to earn spending money, teen employment has a significant impact on both academic success and mental health.

In a recent Saxon Scribe student survey, 60.4% of respondents reported having a job, while also attending school full time. 24.4% of those students work between 15 to 20 hours a week. Six out of ten students participate in an extracurricular activity or volunteer, adding to an already packed schedule of school, homework, and work—leaving very little time for socializing.

“I never have any time to do any homework,” comments senior Becca Skidmore, an employee at Dry Goods. “I constantly am stressed, and I don’t have time for anything else but school and work.”

Aside from a lack of free time, students also find completing homework a difficult task. Teachers give the same amount of homework to all students within a given class regardless of their activities in or outside of school.

“It takes me a long time to get homework done,” states senior Kaylee Kalvig, a cashier at Jewel-Osco. “Assignments that are given in advance are achievable. But if I get an assignment that is due the next day and I have to work that night, I either have to sacrifice sleep or not turn in the homework.”

Asking teachers to assign work according to each individual student’s schedule outside of school is unreasonable considering that a teacher may be responsible for 120 students each day. Regardless, the average American high school student receives around three and a half hours of homework each week. While that number may seem low, for students whose schedules are already full with work, the additional hours often manifest as lost sleep.

“After working a shift and then staying up late, doing homework is difficult,” states Olivia Kus, swim instructor at the Schaumburg Park District. “I have a hard time staying alert in class the next day and I’m not as productive.

Choosing between sleep, downtime, homework, and holding a job is not a luxury afforded equally to all students. Money cannot easily be disregarded or carelessly sacrificed; many students are highly motivated to lose a couple hours of sleep in exchange for cash in their bank account.

Being employed while also attending classes at school is not easy to balance. However, students can manage both by learning time management, talking to teachers about their current situation or simply taking intermediate breaks to relax and step away from the chaotic waves of homework and endless shifts. Skills such as learning how to use time efficiently while prioritizing activities and assignments can lessen stress later in life, and maybe even make school and work an enjoyable learning experience rather than a burden.

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Students in the workforce