The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Pros and cons of working while attending MCHS

Melanie Moreno (created with Canva)
Balancing academics, extracurriculars, and a job can be difficult and have negative effects but could also positively impact MCHS students. What are some of the factors one should consider when deciding whether or not to work?

What does a usual week look like for Middle College High School students? They attend high school classes, spend time doing community service, attend extracurricular activities and work on college classes. How does a job fit into the equation?

Students might want to save up for college, help their families out financially, gain experience, improve their college applications or just have extra cash to spend as they please. Balancing academics, extracurriculars and a job can be difficult and could have negative effects, but it can also have a positive impact.

An article written by Erik Tritsch, the executive director at Fairborn Digital Academy, talks about some of the pros and cons of working while attending high school. Some of the pros included in this article are advancing work skills, acquiring life skills, learning how to budget, decreasing the chance of getting into trouble and gaining insight into what job students might want to have in the future.

“A good job can give your teen valuable insight into what she may want to do after high school. They may discover their enjoyment of working with people, or decide that they want to own a business. If nothing else, a part-time job gives your teen valuable work experience that they can list on future job applications,” Tritsch said.

Tritsch also talks about the cons that can come along with holding a job as a high school student, stating it can increase the chance of substance abuse, reduce the time a student has available for academics and extracurriculars, cause stress and make it hard for them to experience the typical high school experience.

At MCHS, the high school experience can be very different from that of other schools because of the college classes, lack of importance placed on art and sports, school size and focus on academics. Having a job can take away from quality time with friends and family, unwinding, sleeping and doing things that students enjoy, further affecting students’ high school experience.

Another article, published by Walden University, adds some insight into some additional pros and cons that can arise with holding a job during high school. The list of pros includes a job’s ability to teach students the value of money, the importance of budgeting and time management skills along with its ability to build confidence in a student’s abilities. Similar to the article written by Tritsch, the article states, “It can hurt academic achievement. While the correlation between working and grades is not easy to measure, researchers have learned that students who work upward of 20 hours a week suffer from reduced academic performance.”

Besides a job’s hindrance to academic achievement, the article states it reduces the amount of time students have for themselves, causes fatigue and can build negative views of work. Because high school students usually take entry-level position jobs, they do tasks that aren’t enjoyable and could begin to blame the stress and pressure they feel on the job, viewing it as the cause of all their problems.

An additional article written by Indeed, a popular job site, further describes the lack of job opportunities high school students have available, stating, “It’s important for younger job seekers to be aware of this and be willing to start in an entry-level role. Some of these positions may be less glamorous, and could even mean carrying out some undesirable tasks or for a company that doesn’t fit your ideal employer profile.”

Previous points are restated like the financial benefits, insight into what career a student may want, a job’s ability to help teach and develop new skills, the experience it provides and its benefit to applications, further backing up earlier claims. The article introduces a new concept, a job’s ability to help students build professional networks. Most jobs involve lots of human interaction, giving students a chance to meet different people “and the opportunity to network at a very young age.”

The addition of college classes makes it hard to see how these factors could affect MCHS students who want to work. To address this issue, it’s important to look at current MCHS students who are working.

Junior Michelle Zamora has been working as a cashier and barista 21 hours per week for approximately ten months. She expressed that working while she attends MCHS has brought both positive and negative impacts on her life as well as her academics.

“Working has definitely impacted my academics both positively and negatively. It has caused my grades to drop and stress me out with work that I need to catch up on as I am a huge procrastinator. But with this, it has allowed me to learn somewhat how to manage my time and balance work and school,” Zamora said.

When asked what cons have come up with working while attending MCHS and Santa Ana College she addressed her sleep schedule, time management, and the stress that has been present since she started working.

“I tend to be stressed out with work and school. Managing time can be difficult even after working for some time. My sleep schedule has been all over the place; I either wake up at 5 a.m. or come back home at 10 p.m.,” Zamora said.

However, she also shared some of the pros that she has noticed, voicing the addition of new skills, the improvement of another, the financial advantages and the new connections the job has provided her with.

“I have learned to become independent. I have learned many skills: customer service, handling food, making drinks, etc. I have been able to help my family with financial needs. I earn my own money which I can spend freely. I’ve built close connections/friendships. Although I’ve spoken Spanish my whole life, this job allowed me to improve it as my job is a diverse fast food restaurant. Working has helped me build connections, not only with coworkers but with customers as well. In these past 10 months, I have become close with many coworkers and managers, resulting in casual hangouts and building friendships. Even with customers, there are many regular customers who I’ve gotten to know and formed friendships with as well… With this job, I have learned many valuable skills that I’ve carried outside of work with me as well,” Zamora said.

Deciding whether or not to work during high school can be difficult. Taking time to consider how a job can affect your life can help you decide whether or not it’s something that you want to do. Remember to put your physical and mental health first.

“If someone has time for a job, I definitely recommend it as you learn skills, earn money, and form a habit,” Zamora said.

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About the Contributor
Melanie Moreno
Melanie Moreno, Copy Editor
I like listening to all kinds of music, I’m an introvert, and my favorite thing to do is read on a rainy day with a warm drink.