Benefits of students holding down part-time jobs

Lauryn Hodgson, Guest Writer

In 1979, nearly 60% of American high schoolers were working. Today, 35% of high schoolers work. The statistics from a 2018 study by Brookings Institution reveals that nearly half of the teenage working force has disappeared. Part-time jobs for teens have lowered in popularity in recent years, changing the general attitude towards them to be less important than they used to be. Of course, there are still ideas floating around that part-time jobs teach life skills, though those are often waved away by both parents and teens because school is regarded as much more important. Though, part-time jobs are in fact important, as they teach students life-long skills that will benefit them in their future jobs, and in turn improves their performance in school.

Part-time jobs help students handle responsibilities and develop time-management skills, which in turn create a new sense of independence. Workers are responsible for their assigned tasks, of which if not done, could result in firing. Depending on the sort of job, it can teach various different skills, such as organizational skills as a host, or time management as a busser. A majority of parents feel that jobs for their teens will add unneeded stress to their life, or might make the teen feel like their childhood is ending too soon. Currently I work as a host at Mas Taco Bar while attending Rio Americano High School. Stress is barely a problem as I work around 15 hours per week, and I never feel like I won’t have time to get my homework done after work or the next day. My job has given me more responsibilities and skills that taught me to be less anxious around adults and in social situations, as well as a sense of maturity that I enjoy. For most high-schoolers, working creates a better sense of confidence as a survey from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HESCU) reported that 69% of students say their time working part-time boosted their confidence and their job performance. From the same study, students reported that 81% felt improvements in their personal development, and as a bonus, 55% felt a boost to their happiness.

Though seemingly contradictory, part-time teen employees have performed better in school than those who do not have a job. Most would disagree due to the obvious fact that work would reduce the amount of time allotted for homework, causing grades to generally fall, but, in fact, it is the exact opposite. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students who work 10 to 15 hours a week while taking a full class load have better grades than those who do not work. Students with jobs learn that it is required to have proper time management skills and self discipline to both get schoolwork done and have time for a four hour shift afterschool. Another study by the Economics of Education says that students who work part-time jobs are more likely to graduate than those who do not have part-time jobs. 

Part-time jobs are mostly something that could be a great experience for students. Even though they usually seem to take away from a student’s time, they instead benefit the student’s grades and time management skills. High-school students should strive to have a job that will allow them to improve upon themselves and provide them with more experience than they previously had.