Balancing High School and Part-Time Work

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Like many high school students, you may work part-time. A great thing about this experience is that it not only will earn you money but also will challenge you and teach you new things about yourself. Whether you work because you need to or because you want to, follow the advice below to make sure you succeed at both work and school.

Plan Ahead

Before getting a job, think about how you will handle juggling your work and your schoolwork. Talking to a counselor, teacher or parent about working can help you figure out how to balance these two activities. Explain what you need to get from working and what kind of job you want and ask questions like these:

  • How can I manage my time to make school and a job work for me?
  • What type of job will work best with my schedule, skills and personality?

Tips for Success

Once you have a part-time job, consider these strategies for making it work:

  • Talk about your schedule with your family. Balancing school and work is easier with their support.
  • Start slowly, if possible; don't commit to working a lot of hours immediately.
  • Avoid time conflicts by planning your class and work schedules as far ahead as possible.
  • Use your time efficiently. For example, if your job has a lot of downtime and your boss has no objection, use slow periods to do schoolwork.

How Your Job Can Work for You

Angel Nicole, a high school senior, says that working at McDonald’s has helped her grow as a person. “Honestly, before I got this job, my attitude was bad. I thought I knew everything,” she says. “Learning … that there is always room to learn more has helped me mature.”

A job can also benefit you by teaching you about:

  • Commitment
  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Handling money

Working can help you explore career directions and reach your goals too. Rhea, a college sophomore and aspiring pharmacist, found her career path when she started her job at a pharmacy while in high school. She says that she loves learning new things on the job every day. “I feel that it's something I can do for the rest of my life, and that's a big deal.”