Balancing work and school is a struggle many teens are familiar with. You were ecstatic to get hired for your first job, but quickly learned balancing work and school was quite the uphill battle! If you want to be successful both at your job and in school, follow these simple tips!
1. Remember: School Comes First
Before you even begin strategizing how balancing work and school will work, you need to get your priorities straight. But I’ll do it for you! School comes first, it always has to. If you have the option between picking up an extra shift at your job and completing a massive project for school, choose the project. Grades determine your future whereas earning a few extra dollars on a Thursday night won’t make a huge difference in the long run.
2. Talk to Your Manager
How will your manager understand that school always comes first unless you tell them? When you first get hired, tell your employer that you’re a dedicated student and won’t always have work as your first priority (package that message in a way that doesn’t make your boss want to fire you!). Once you establish an understanding between you and your boss, you may be able to construct a work schedule that is beneficial both to your boss, the company, and a successful student like you!
3. Talk to Your Teachers
Some teachers are more lenient than others, but discussing your situation with even the strictest teacher can’t hurt. If you often work right after school, ask your last period teacher if you can be dismissed from class a little bit early to beat the traffic leaving the school parking lot. And ask ahead of time for extensions on major projects, but only take advantage of it when you really need it! Teachers understand that their students have lives outside of school, so don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher about making accommodations for your work life.
4. Take a Free Period
If your schedule allows for it, talk to your counselor about taking a free period next quarter or next school year. If you eliminate a final period from your school day, and keep all of your core classes at the beginning of the day, you can work longer hours and have less homework bogging you down. This isn’t the right choice for everyone, but give taking a free period some serious thought before you finalize your schedule.
5. Work Somewhere You Can Multitask
If you work at a busy fast-food restaurant or clothing store, odds are there won’t be a second for you to shift gears and sneak in some studying. But, if you get a job at an obscure little boutique, you may be able to multitask at work! This can do wonders for your school life, and you won’t feel like you’re “wasting time” sitting behind a cash register all day. Make sure it’s okay with your manager, and limit multitasking to times when customer traffic is at a lull, but if you can, bring your textbooks into work whenever possible!
6. Work Weekends
I know – ew right? Aren’t weekends for winding down from the school/work week? Well, if you’re a working student it may be wise to work long hours on the weekends rather than short shifts throughout the week. It means less down time, but less conflict with your school schedule. Plus, if you have a job you enjoy, work is play and play is work, right? So make a small sacrifice and work on the weekends when you can!
7. Make Time to Relax
With any stressful situation, the only way to come out triumphant is to make time to relax when things are most stressful. Take at least an hour or two a week to do something completely unrelated to work and school; do something you love or do nothing at all! Just remember that you’re young and need relaxation more than you need stress.
Getting hired anywhere during high school is a great privilege, and you should take advantage of job opportunities when they arise. However, it’s important to balance work and school, and avoid neglecting either.