As the school year starts up, many students are left with the question: should I get an after school job? Jobs have always been a huge problem for teenagers that boils down to: do I want money or do I want time? Although there are many compelling arguments for why students get after school jobs, such as needing money for gas or saving for college, I feel that students shouldn’t get after school jobs.
For me and a lot of students there is just not enough time in the day for a job. Between AP European History teacher Chris McAfee’s three hour AP Euro assignments, being a member of the debate team and writing the opinion you are currently reading, I and many others just don’t have time for an after school job. Whether you are playing sports or preparing for the musical, getting a job would seriously cut into your free time.
Now, some people would argue that you should work after your activities or just work on the weekends but both of these options still have their downfalls. I know I have had many nights where I didn’t get home until 7 p.m. and easily had three hours of homework left that night, so working after an activity wouldn’t work for me. If you add a three or four hour shift on top of all your homework and activities then, at best, you are looking at going to bed by 1:00 a.m. leading to a very tired and less productive day. On the other hand, if you try to work only on the weekends, that also lends itself to many problems. For starters, the weekend is a great time to get involved with either the school or in the community. A job just doesn’t give you the same relationships.
Another major issue is homework. I tend to procrastinate as long as possible on assignments and the weekend is the perfect time to catch up on all of the assignments I decided that I didn’t want to deal with on Thursday and Friday. Overall, after school jobs take away from what is important: your high school experience. Every high school student seems to need more money and college seems to get more and more expensive as it inches closer, but high school jobs aren’t the only way to pay for college. Academics and activities are an option.
The federal minimum wage is only $7.25 and working 20 hours a week all school year only pulls down a little over $5,000, the equivalent of one quarter at KU. If you focus on your activities, stay active in the school, get good grades and still have free time to avoid getting burnt out, you could make easily double that or more in scholarships. By getting a 3.5 GPA and a 28 on your ACT KU will award you $8,000, no questions asked. Activities also have many opportunities for a scholarship. Most schools will give you thousands of dollars if you play a sport for them, with some of the best athletes receiving full rides. Being a member of student government or honors societies like NHS are helpful with leadership and relationships now, and could turn into money down the road. Even just volunteering at Harvesters can make you look like a better candidate for a scholarship.
So no matter if get out of bed for sports or academics it just makes more sense to focus on what you love. Between the amount of time a job takes up and the significantly greater amount of money you can get from scholarships it just makes more sense for students to focus on their academics and making their school a better place.