By Abby Neal
Photo from Astrid Balink
Astrid Balink (10) is one of the St. Mary's students working during the school year.
Forty years ago around 60% of American high schoolers were working. Now that number is only 35%. The demands of high school have increased in the last 20 years, and it’s now harder to hold down an after school job.
This is true for St. Mary’s girls, too. Sixty percent of SMS students surveyed think that having a job would negatively affect their grades. In fact, many girls stated that this is the only reason that they do not currently have a job. It’s not just school that keeps St. Mary’s girls busy. Extracurriculars like sports, music, volunteering, government programs, publications and clubs make it hard to have any extra time to work. Because of this, only 22% of St. Mary’s students have an after school job.
“My favorite part of my job was my coworkers. They were what really made it fun,” Catherine Ferguson (11) said about her previous job at Baskin Robbins. Catherine worked around 12 hours a week. Her job did make it hard to keep up with her academics, so she had to quit. Catherine plans to return to her job in the summer when it’s easier to balance her time.
This a common problem among working high schoolers, but some students have found ways to make it work. Astrid Balink (10) works at the juice truck Raw Girls, and her hours are more workable because she only works on breaks or on weekends. “I like my work because I feel independent, which is something I’ve always enjoyed. It doesn’t affect my school or extracurricular activities because I get to pick the times that work best for me,” Astrid said.
Education, vehicles, clothing and gas are more expensive today than ever before. Even though these expenses are still a concern, many have chosen not to work because of school. Teenagers are now leaving these expenses to their parents or nixing more frivolous expenses altogether.
If a teen can find a job with flexible hours, it’s easy to keep up with school. As Astrid explains, “It’s nice to spend time doing something that is productive. Yes, it can be hard at times, but it’s so rewarding and I love it."
For & By Students
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