Juggling a Part-Time Job With School

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Courtesy of Manzi

Marissa Manzi (left) stands with two co-workers at her job. Since beginning her job, Manzi feels proud of her newfound income because, “I earned it. I worked hard for it."

Many students juggle their schoolwork and activities with part-time jobs. But, is entering the workforce helpful or harmful for a student?

As a high schooler, there are many companies looking to hire part-time employees. Many students work as waiters, busers, hostesses, assistants, receptionists, and retail workers.

Generally, students wait until Junior or Senior year to look for a job. However, some students decide to start working earlier. Marissa Manzi is a Freshman who works at a restaurant in Maris Grove, a retirement home in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Despite her age, Manzi said her age didn’t affect her experience working because she, “still can do everything that everyone else can.” 

Diana Kenes, a Junior, recently started working at a boutique in Greenville named Francesca’s. She chose to get a job because “it’s a great way to learn how to manage your time and learn responsibilities.”

Having a job in high school has many advantages. One perk is the friendships students make through their job. “I interact with all the residents and they’re really nice. And I made a lot of friends who work there,” said Manzi.

Kenes had a similar experience to Manzi, saying, “I really love my job [because] I get to talk to people all day and hang out with my coworkers.”

Another positive side to getting a job is showing colleges that you’re well-rounded. Mr. Lang, a college admissions counselor, said colleges, “see responsibility as important. Whether that’s a part time job or an activity… they want to see the student excel, not only in the classroom but in something else. And a part time job can certainly fill that role.”

Other than impressing colleges, students choose to get a job for many reasons. Niki Dupree, a Senior who works in the school library, said she chose her job because she is able to, “…get work done while also being in a place where I love. The library has always been my second home, so being able to work here is amazing.”

Although having a part-time job can be fun, Lang cautions that they aren’t a good fit for every student. “My first question I always ask them is what else are they doing? We have to look at everything that they do. So, getting a job is great, but if you’re playing a sport, then it could be too much.”

He recommends that students consider how much time they have in their schedule and if they would be able to logistically make a job work. Another concern for Lang is the motivation some students have for getting a job.

“A lot of students say ‘I just need some money’… so they go find the first job that they can find, which can add to mental health issues, can add to stress, and can add to anxiety if it’s a job they don’t like,” Lang said.

Lang also believes that students need to make sure they get a job for the right reasons and keep school their main priority. “Sometimes students may put the priority on the job because it’s new and they feel kind of responsible to that job. And it takes away from school work.”

Although Lang warns that money shouldn’t be the only reason to get a job, having extra money is a big plus for students. Knowing they worked for their money gives them a new sense of responsibility over it. “I definitely look at money in a new way now that I know that all purchases are coming directly from my own paycheck,” said Gina Rufo, another Senior who works in the school library afterschool.

Manzi agreed, saying she feels proud of her earnings because, “I earned it. I worked hard for it.”

In addition, working can teach students important lessons. Lang felt part time jobs are helpful because they “…Make you responsible to another adult other than a parent. So, you’re now working on your own [and] you’re acting a little bit more independently.”

Rufo has seen this independence in her daily life through the way she spends her money. “I now have to decide if what I am spending my money on is a good choice because if I spend all of my money impulsively on one thing, I might not have enough money to buy something that I really want in the future.”

Another advantage of a part-time job is learning life lessons. Manzi said she learned how to be patient with people through her job. As a waitress and busser at a retirement home, she has learned to connect with the residents.

“Having a part-time job is a really great experience and it will teach you to save money and manage your time,” Kenes said.