Would You Like Fries With That?

February 1, 2018

As students begin to approach adulthood, their responsibilities will continually add up. Some teenagers can handle the amounting stress, and yet some will buckle under its weight. But should working a job become a part of the newfound maturity that these kids are being forced to undergo?

I am a sophomore at  FMHS, and I have a job as a lifeguard for the city of Grand Junction. Personally, there have been many ups and downs to working. For some background: you can be fifteen and take the class to become a lifeguard for the city, which is exactly what I did. I was eager to have a job and earn money, and initially it was just going to be a summer job.

After the summer was over, however, my boss asked me to stay for the offseason. I was hesitant of it at first; how was I going to balance school, practice, and work? Already, over the summer I had to rely on other people to get me to work every day, not being able to drive myself at fifteen. But Pete, my boss, was determined and so I agreed to stay. He even threw away the resignation I put in to end my job after summer was over!

The first few months I worked sparsely, unable to get from school to the pool by 3:15, and only on a few weekends per month. I wanted to keep making money and saving for the inevitable gas I was going to have to pay for when I got my license (and shopping of course). But as girls’ swim season approached, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to balance it all. I ended up going on leave until March 1, 2018.

Of course I miss the people, money, and fun of the job, but I can say that the lack of stress from working, especially as a lifeguard–a stressful job in itself–has been a blessing. I can take more time to focus on school and practice this year, although I’m eager to go back.

Students aren’t legally allowed to work more than eight hours a day if they are under eighteen on =r non-school days. The hours worked per week are topped at forty when school isn’t in session as well. During the school year, most states have limited the legal amount of hours students can work to eighteen.

Data recently released by the US Census has proven that around one in four students over the age of sixteen have jobs, although only one percent of those work full time. Studies by bachelorsdegreeonline.com have also shown that “building experience, self-reliance, and important skills are among some of the best benefits many teens see from part-time work, and they’re among the best reasons for teens to get an after-school job.” The responsibility of having a job that students will have prepare them for the real-world and for college, where they will need to have a job.

On the contrary, the New York Times’ journalist Gerald Bachman wrote, “ high school students who work long hours in jobs during the school year tend to have poorer academic performance and are more likely to be involved in a variety of problem behaviors, including delinquency, cigarette use and other drug use.”

The infamous question remains overall unanswered, but the decision of whether or not to have a job in high school is ultimately up to the student. While there may be many controversial opinions on the topic, there is no one making the final decision for students. On one hand, responsibility is key to balancing school and work, which is not something everyone can handle. On the other hand, the skills, memories, and money made at any job are all exemplary! So if you’re ready to take on that responsibility, apply for one of the many jobs Grand Junction or Fruita has to offer!


Photo By: SHARP

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