Teenagers in the workforce: vol. 3

Teens talk about how they deal with working full time and going to school


Cannon Wake

Going to school, having homework, taking tests, and then after that having a full-time job can be very challenging for students. Students a lot of times are missing out on opportunities and having a social life because of having so many things on their plates. The real question is how do students keep up with all their school work, social life, and working full time? 

This is the final installment to our three-part series covering teens working full-time. This part is about how students feel about having to work and go to school. The first installment covered employment laws and managers’ opinions. The second installment is about how teachers feel about students working and going to school full time. A lot of students are having difficulties working and going to school full time, whether it be working for their luxuries or bills. There are students at Abraham Lincoln High School that go to work to pay for their needs and wants so they don’t have to ask their parents for money and there are also students working jobs to help their parents out with bills.

Josephine Taulborg, a senior at ALHS, said that maintaining school, work, and other activities is difficult.

“It’s really hard because I am really busy and I’m a born working girl. I do a sport, I’m on the yearbook staff, I work a job, I go to school, and I do college classes as well. It’s hard to balance it sometimes because I get tired really easily and sometimes I’m lazy.”

Students such as Kayleen Woolsoncroft, a senior at ALHS, find it easy to keep up with school, work and after-school activities. She says it keeps her determined.

“Staying motivated helps me keep up with all of my responsibilities. As a first-generation student, I have to be able to succeed so this objective keeps me motivated. Sometimes I get extremely stressed and tired and I feel that I can’t do it, but I have to as I have no other options.” 

After working many hours, students tend to be tired to go to school the next day. After work, students do their homework and sometimes even stay up late to finish assignments. Brooklyn Sorensen, a junior at ALHS, finds it stressful to keep up with schoolwork because of her job.

“It’s hard to stay on top of my schoolwork because I’m already stressed out with my job and trying to stay motivated,” Sorenson said. “Trying to stay motivated is difficult because of having important things to manage in your life.”

According to Statista.com, “In 2020, around 17.6 percent of teenagers between ages 16 and 19 were employees while enrolled at school in the United States.” 

While all of this is going on, how does working full time affect students emotionally? Balancing all those activities can be overwhelming. According to Mental Health America, students’ mental health is being affected by long hours and these excessive work hours are hurting their minds. Mental Health America also explains ways to relieve the overwhelming feeling.

“Students are stressed about finances. Students have to be able to balance school, work, activities, and their social life… Feeling overloaded can seriously damage your mind and body, making you more vulnerable to physical and mental health problems. Additionally, chronic stress keeps you from being your best self. While stress is inevitable, and not inherently bad, it’s important to find healthy ways to deal with it.”

With students having a busy schedule, how does it affect their social life? Mia Vodicka, a junior at ALHS and student at Iowa Western, stated that it gets difficult after school and work because she gets tired, but she found a coping mechanism.

I don’t get out very often,” Vodicka said. “Usually when I get time off I want to stay home and take a break. It causes me to be isolated at times but getting into soccer again helped me branch out.”

This is the last part of Teens in the Workforce. This series covered managers, teachers, and students’ opinions on working full-time. We have seen how students struggle while working and going to school. Teens want a break from everything sometimes which causes them not to be able to go out as much and be social.