School is exhausting. Tests, assignments, friends and homework are enough to drive a student insane. For some reason, there is an assumption that students do not have enough stress in their lives already and to truly experience the "real world", they must partake in the universal torture known as a part-time job.
Now, a part-time job is also a lifeline for students who even dare to dream of a debt-free post-secondary experience. However, the expectation that a student can attain good grades, work three to four shifts a week, and still have time to sleep is completely unrealistic. What adults don't seem to understand is that teens today are under way too much pressure.
When asked, Lisa (Gr. 12) said being a student while working a part-time job was “stressful.” A "successful" student is under pressure to be involved with the school community, volunteer with outside charities, join a sports team or three, and have exceptional grades. To complete even a few of these expectations will keep a student’s life busy. A student also has family expectations to deal with. Most families don’t want their sons or daughters out every night with meetings, too busy to help with other family responsibilities. Then, at a certain age, you are expected to partake in the rite of passage known as a job. This takes up more time, more responsibility and results in more stress.
Also, don’t expect to see your friends outside of school. A student has NO time for that. Don’t expect to sleep either, that’s for the weak. In fact, if you want to be a valuable student not facing thousands of dollars of debt, don’t expect a lot of the necessities of life. Parents, teachers and the people who sponsor scholarships need to take a hard look at the average student. The idea that every student is some kind of stress-less robot is causing the very human students to combust.
I have a part-time job and am also involved in several clubs. There are some nights that I don’t even get to come home; I go straight from school to work and do homework on my brief 15 minute break.
Combining a part-time job with school life is like being a super spy. There are a lot of costume changes and multi-tasking. My advice to students out there with part-time jobs is to take one day out of your very busy week and...
1) Sleep in. 2) Sleep some more. 3) Plan an outing with friends. 4) Enjoy a meal with family. 5) Go to bed EARLY (really, it helps!).
School and work sometimes feel like the biggest issues in your life, but the most important thing is your sanity. No matter what myths adults tell you (like they really walked both ways, uphill, barefoot, in the snow to get to school), you can't be expected to maintain a "perfect" façade when under huge amounts of pressure. Make sure you find balance between school, work and play.