Working smarter and harder: Green Hope’s working students

Green Hope students discuss the need for a balance between school and jobs.

Eric Prouzet

Green Hope students discuss the need for a balance between school and jobs.

Jazmin Jagger and Isabel Westerlund

Although to some, it may seem like an extra load of work and dedication, millions of high school students nationwide choose to work part-time jobs. Learning how to manage money at an early age can be a great way to pave one’s future, however, it can also present obstacles such as balancing work, school and one’s personal life.

Most students agree that the prime reason they get a job is to gain a sense of individuality as well as generate their own income. Companies offering positions to teenagers are oftentimes flexible when it comes to shift hours as academics are usually a student’s number one priority. Green Hope students touched on this school-work life balance.

Justin Jackson (‘24), an employee at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, stated that after starting school, he cut his work hours to allocate more time to his schoolwork. “I worked around 20 hours a week during summer, however, now I only work for five hours a week in order to focus on school and sports,” said Jackson. With a less stressful job, Justin explains that the pressures normally associated with work are not present in his case. “I enjoy going to work, even though there are certain pressures that come with having a job, I find mine very easy and enjoyable,” added Jackson.

Similarly, Lexie Davila (‘23), an employee at Paolos, added on and stated, “I used to work double shifts, closing shifts and around 30 hours a week, but now I only work 2-3 times a week with school being so time-consuming.”

Davila explained that between school, volleyball practice and work, she barely has any free time.

“It can be stressful at times, sometimes it’s hard to know which to put first, however recently, I’ve been dedicating more time to school as it’s my senior year,” said Davila.

On the other hand, Summer Godwin (‘23) stated, “I work long hours every week, I favor work over school as it has direct effects on my life. It also teaches me more valuable skills than school does.” As a Wegmans employee, Godwin notes that she works an easy, good-paying job. The only downside of working long hours is her sleep schedule.

“I get less sleep than others, when I get home from work, I then need to complete any assignments for school, have dinner, shower, etc.,” stated Godwin. “I don’t have much free time during the week, but most of my friends also have jobs and so my weekly social life isn’t affected greatly.”

A commonality across all students is that they are passionate about the effects that school, work, or both have on their lives. Student Jackson Ealy (’23) states that he loves his job because of how fun it is and because he gets to be with his friends, but he also enjoys school because it gives him time to be social and work towards becoming successful.

When asked if he could change anything about having a job, Ealy stated, “I wouldn’t. My job is flexible and so I don’t really struggle with juggling my day-to-day life and work. I get to be social and learn skills I wouldn’t be able to learn anywhere else, and I get paid to do something I enjoy.”

Students’ appreciation of and necessity for balancing a job and their academic requirements is clear on a daily basis.