Smart or not?: Working students balance school with jobs

Co-Social Media Manager/Graphics Editor
Zeke La Mantia

Senior Elsie Baker answers the phone at the host station of Cyrano’s Cafe and Wine Bar in Old Orchard, Wednesday, Sept. 22. Photo by Zeke La Mantia

Being a student nowadays already comes with hardships. Add having a job into the mix, and sometimes life can be overwhelming.

According to Walden University, nearly 30% of high school students are employed including 24 of the 15 year-old freshmen and sophomores who have obtained a workers’ permit from Central Office.

According to Cathy Vespereny, during the months of April-June the applications increase significantly because most students want to work during the summer months.

Jennedy Lombard, college and career counselor for last names L-Z, said, “It depends. In general it’s a good idea for them (students) to work during high school, but if you can’t balance your time and getting your school work done, I would say you probably shouldn’t” about holding a job as a student.

Lombard added, “I think everyone should work before they graduate because working with the general public and answering to a supervisor before college is, in my opinion, smart. I would say that it’s also a good thing to put on your resume (having a job/being employed during your high school career). It shows time management and shows you know how money is earned, and it’s just a nice outlet.”

“I think students who are busy and have full schedules end up being really good students. It (having a job) forces you to focus on your time,” Lombard said.

While there are benefits to being a student worker, there are still downsides. The inability to properly plan can be one of the major issues facing student workers this year. With COVID still rampant in some communities, plans are constantly changing/ getting rescheduled.

Senior Bridget Moehlman has worked at Salt + Smoke for over a year as well as doing theatre her whole life and most recently been in teen shows at The Muny.

About how Moehlman manages her time when it comes to her schedule involving The Muny, she said, “Some teachers have not been supportive of me not going home after school. I leave for school at 8 a.m. and don’t get home till 12 a.m. Because of COVID, The Muny schedule and the beginning of the school year overlapped. I’ve been doing both since Aug. 23.”

About her work schedule and if being employed was sometimes overwhelming, Moehlman said, “Actually no, because I only work three times a week and two of the times are on the weekend, so I always have time for schoolwork.”

Moehlman said the second week of school she’d only been in the building four days.
“It’s hard sometimes to be an hourly worker and work with someone (an employer) who doesn’t appreciate the fact that you’re a student and have to sleep. If you’re in a job that doesn’t put you as a student first that can negatively affect your mental health,” Lombard said.

Senior Elsie Baker is a host at Cyranos in Old Orchard and a babysitter.

“I brought my homework to work with me, not because I needed to but because I didn’t wanna have to do it at 11 p.m. when I get off at 10:30 p.m. sometimes,” Baker said, adding that managing school and work is never a huge issue. She just wants better communication between teachers and students to ensure it doesn’t eventually become a huge issue.

“Be flexible with students, especially upperclassmen because there are things going on that we either don’t have the time to share with teachers or don’t want to. Patience is key,” Baker said.

Zeke La Mantia – Social Media Editor

This is Zeke La Mantia’s third year on with Echo publications.  He has earned multiple awards for his photographic contributions.

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