Ups and downs of being a full time student in the workforce


Design by Molly Gregory.

Zoe Paige

High school students having a job isn’t anything new. What is new, however, is that today’s students have an increased school workload and a global pandemic to add, making for a packed and often hectic schedule. 

Some student’s parents make them hold a job, while others have one out of necessity. No matter the driving factor, the same hardships apply as these students tackle how to deal with such a busy schedule. How does one manage being a full time student and working many hours a week and make time for extracurriculars? That’s not even mentioning studying, homework or positive social outlets. 

Two students Anna Emberson (12, VA) and Kaetlyn Buss (12, YPAS) share some of their ups and downs with being a full time student and in the workforce. 

Anna Emberson began working as a barista at Heine Brothers’ coffee shop during the pandemic. She’s been able to cut back on how many hours she works during the week in order to compensate for and balance out her school/work life. 

 “Personally, school comes first for me and I’m willing to sacrifice my work hours in order to perform well in school,” Emberson said. 

She hasn’t allowed her job to interfere with school, but said it does impact her free time outside of school and does take up much of that time. Nevertheless, she believes it’s worth it to work in high school. 

“It’s great to have paid experience in a working environment and I’m glad I was exposed to that before college,” Emberson said. 

She went on to add that it will bolster her college applications and that the experience exposes her to new people, since she’s with the same people everyday during the school week. It’s also taught her how to deal with difficult situations, how to manage her social anxiety better and even made Emberson realize the healthy relationship her and her co-workers have with each other.

Kaetlyn Buss (12, YPAS) works as a barista at Starbucks and has had a different experience, focusing more on the hardships that come along with being a working student. 

“It definitely affects my grades when it takes up my homework time, which also ends up affecting my sleep,” Buss said. 

One of the main reasons she works is to pay for things like gas money, clothes and school supplies. Even though working can take its toll, she also cites some of the positive aspects of her job. She’s learned that being a working student can teach you valuable lessons, especially in dealing with difficult or frustrating situations. One such example is balancing her schedule.  

“Working and going to school has taught me how to manage my time better and that saying no is an important skill to have,” Buss said.

So is working while going to school full time worth it? The answer varies between students, their families and personal situations. Some work out of necessity, some work for extra spending money and some for both. It’s ultimately up to the individual to determine whether or not it’s worth the time or stress to take on a job while in high school. 

Just like anything else in high school, there are going to be ups and downs and it’s up to you to decide if it’s the best or worthwhile path for you.