Students finding balance between school, work

Junior Zoe Castle and sophomore Jerod McGrane work jobs while also trying to maintain a healthy school and work balance. 

Castle participates in band, the swim team, yearbook, student council and MVP while currently working as a lifeguard for the Cedar Falls REC center, and McGrane currently works at Western Home Communities.

In July of 2023 55 percent of young people (16 to 24) were employed, although this percentage does decline due to losing summer jobs because of the upcoming school year. Many students still find themselves working entering college or high school. Researchers disagree however on whether working during the school year is healthy for students. Some researchers say that working students can learn the value of money, that having a job can teach the relationship between earnings and education, and can even supposedly make people feel more confident. This could be caused by students feeling more capable due to their work experience.

McGrane said he has seen benefits from his job experience. “I think I’ve learned a lot about talking to people way better at my job.”

Castle has also seen some gains. “A lot more life skills, how to manage yourself a little better, balancing multiple things.”

Other researchers such as Kathryn Momahan have found that part time jobs while in school can take away from a student’s personal time, that can fail at teaching the student valuable skills that are used later in life, or that students that work up to 20 hours a week suffer academically. At the University of Washington, Momahan found that working students that worked under 20 hours a week were the same as unemployed students academically, but students that work more than 20 hours a week do poorer than the other students. 

Castle said finding the balance is key. “If you are going to get a job, good for you. Do it if you think you can do it, but if you struggle to balance work, school always comes first right now.”

She said it also helps to have “a planner. Writing stuff down is the biggest thing for me. Writing stuff down so I don’t forget things because I am known to do that.”

McGrane also emphasized finding the right balance. “Don’t overwork yourself, because it’s always like you don’t have to overwork yourself, but you also still have to work.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.