Does Working As A Student Do More Harm Than Good?


Image taken by Lilijana Best-Prostrednik at Bella Vie, where Serena Best-Prostrednik, her sister works. She is an instagram specialist working at a midwife clinic, taking images to help develop and promote Bella Vie.

Milko Dube (she/her), Staff Writer

As school comes back into session students are transitioning from working over the summer to trying to fit school work into their already busy schedules. The difficult balancing act of holding down a job, learning full time, participating in extracurricular, taking care of personal responsibilities and maintaining a social life can lead to feelings of stress and extreme burnout.

Going from online to in person comes with a lot more homework and pressures of participating in class. Teachers give loads of homework, to be completed after students are at school for 8 hours and, for some, at the end of a shift of work. Students have to juggle homework while meeting demanding routines, schools not catering to each student, pressures of social media ideals, while balancing their mental health. 

Because of this increasingly interconnected world, students have more competition than ever. Whether it’s having the best car or getting into the best college, our generation continues to compete socially. One of the byproducts of this competition is that more and more high school students are becoming employed. 

An article from the PMC National Library of Medicine and National health says, “On the other side of the debate, some educators complain that working teens put in too many hours on their jobs; they may come to school tired, have little time to see their teachers after school for special help, and avoid extracurricular activities.” 

These findings are supported by a recent poll at Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, in which “88.9%” of students reported sleeping less than 8 hours, while another “44.4%” reported working outside of school. 

Majda Tayba, a freshman at IBW, found herself working in order to have a positive outlet for her mental and social health, saying, “It’s those things [having a job] that helped my mental health. When the pandemic hit and we were all sitting at home, that’s what put me down and made me more sad. I’m really social and like socializing with people. Working with people is what I really enjoy and that busy schedule keeps me motivated and happy.” 

School is set up as a routine from the first day of pre-k; students having mostly no say in what they get to do each day. When people don’t have control over their environment they can feel stressed and overwhelmed. 

Serena Best-Prostrednik, an IBW senior, has felt these common symptoms of an overly routine schedule, saying, “It affects me in the sense that I’m a lot busier when I come home from school. Not only [do I have] homework, but drivers-ed, and acting while trying to have a social life. It hinders in a way that I’m more stressed and have [more] responsibilities.” 

But Best-Prostrednik isn’t the only one that feels this way. Tayba is facing the same feelings, struggling to focus on work and school while having a social life, saying, “The reason I go to work every day isn’t just because of my family’s financial state but also because I enjoy the consistency. But that’s where the stress comes in. ”

A student’s mental state is the most important factor when it comes to managing work and school, leading it to be difficult at times. But the most common thing found in the students interviewed  is that they all have a routine to help reduce their stress levels. 

Abdulkadir Tayba (Majda Tayba’s older brother) is one of the students that mentioned time management helping him stay organised. He says, “My schedule is pretty straight forward, I work seven hour shifts every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. And I work a twelve hour shift on Saturdays. I have football practice after school, so I optimize the time I have.” 

From employed freshmen to seniors at IBW, these students interviewed have a set schedule where they manage their time well, leading them to have less worries, and develop their time management better.

Working in general isn’t easy for anyone, let alone a high school student. Many of these students work for different reasons whether that means helping their family out, saving up for a car, or saving up for college. 

While working is a benefit at times these students face many challenges balancing their social life while working but they are able to do this by having a routine in place. But this is only the beginning of the school year, things may go better or worse for these students, but as of now these working students are able to advocate for themselves.