Balancing School & Work

It's important not to get to swept up in a part-time job, whether it's for extra cash or to help out your family. You will be better able to help your family once you graduate.

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It’s important not to get to swept up in a part-time job, whether it’s for extra cash or to help out your family. You will be better able to help your family once you graduate.

Juan Medrano

Time is what everyone needs, students need time to study for a test or to work on a project or even more time to sleep. At Round Lake High School students have jobs, a student’s job is to come to school every day and work hard, but that isn’t easy for students who have jobs outside of school.Some work to help their families and some work to earn extra money. Working while going to school can help students to be more independent, responsible,and prepared for life, but it can also leave students without enough time to get their school work done.

“ Some days are harder than other days, it depends on what the work is,” said Gustavo Morales, a senior at RLHS who has a job outside at school and says it just depends on what the work is or if there is a test coming up in one of his classes.  It also can depend on the job and schedule you have, Edson Perez, a 2014 graduate of RLHS said, “ I was a part time worker and a full time student, and I did good. Of course, Perez added, “It was easy for me because of the job I had, I was able to study while working”. Richard Schmidt, a Senior at RLHS who works at Peapod 22 hours a week,  said, “It’s hard to study while working, the hard part is not having time to do school work because I’m always tired.”

Alex Zermeno, an English teacher at RLHS, worked at a TOPS Kennel in Gurnee when she was in high school. “When I was working at TOPS, it wasn’t too bad because my mom [the owner] was always willing to work around my scheduled.” However, when Zermeno found employment at other places, she found that sometimes she had to work late, and it would tire her out.

Zermeno has suggestions for students trying to balance school and jobs. “Students can do well by doing a few different things,” she said. “One is to make sure that the company is going to understand that being a student is their number-one priority and not over schedule them. If it becomes too overwhelming to have a job and to go to school, then the students must be prepared to quit their jobs. If students graduate from high school and college, they will be able to help their families a lot more in the long run than if they drop out of high school to work.”

Stephanie Garvey, one of the counselors at RLHS agrees. “My message to students is that it is important that school is a higher priority than work in order to graduate from high school and have more options in the future,” she said. It’s not easy to balance work and school so she tries to help students maintain their balance while staying healthy. Whenever she helps a student who works outside of school, she helps them with  balancing work and school and helps them schedule their time.

One of Garvey’s suggestions is to make a weekly schedule. “I help the students by writing down their obligations that aren’t flexible like school hours,” she said. She also factors in time for students to get homework done, as well as time to keep themselves healthy, be it time to work out or sleep. “I teach students coping skills for dealing with stress because having a lot responsibilities can be hard at times,” she said. Exploring hobbies can be useful when dealing with stress because it can help students feel good about themselves when having spare time.

“[When] students are falling behind in school because they are spending lots of time working and not doing homework or sleeping, it comes the time to have a serious and honest talk with them,” Garvey said. She says some students have agreed to quit their jobs so that they have a better chance of graduating.

Working and being a student can be hard, but it’s not impossible. It’s important to remember that as students our first job is to graduate high school.