By Jasminder Kobayashi
High school is stressful. Now, add a global pandemic, complicated relationships, and a 20-hour workweek. Learning to balance academics and a part-time job is not an easy task nor one that I have perfected, but with seven-months of experience, I think I can ease your mind about undertaking a part-time job as a full-time high school student.
My job search started this summer. I wanted to create some structure in my life, and I had the underlying pressure of contributing to funding my university education. I surfed all of the generic job hunting sites like Indeed and monster.com, but I found the best opportunities through personal connections. For example, I found my current job through a friend who told me about her position and her responsibilities and realized that it seemed perfect for me. I applied the next day, was interviewed the day after, and had my first shift later that week! Here’s a side tip: your best bet for finding a job may be through your own network of friends and family.
The initial excitement of having a job, and money, was cut short when school started. I was excited to get back to Harbord after a six-month break, but I knew that Grade 11 was a year that could determine my post-secondary future. I had to think about how I was going to balance work and school because both meant a great deal to me.
So, here are my tips on balancing school and a part-time job.
Separate the two from each other and be in the present. When at work, be at work. Do not think about the assignment due tomorrow or the essay that is due tonight because there is no point in stressing about something that you can not do at that moment. The same goes for schoolwork, you have to spend the time allotted for school to complete work and get everything you have to do done. Even if you do not get everything done, learn from your mistakes and work harder the next day.
Do not leave anything to the last minute. Leave time for the unexpected because you never know what life, teachers, or a boss may throw at you. When you get an assignment, look at your week and plans and work a little bit every day.
Get a good sleep every night. Having a good sleeping schedule is something that has been instilled in our heads by our parents and teachers - although it is harder said than done - nevertheless, extremely important to productivity.
Don’t take on extra responsibilities, learn to say no. If someone asks you to cover a shift or hang out on a day you know you have to get schoolwork done, prioritize schoolwork. Hanging out with someone, knowing that it will mean handing in an assignment late will be less fun than seeing them on a day that you have an open schedule.
These are some of the things I have learned through experience as a high school student with a part-time job. It is okay to make mistakes and feel overwhelmed when you have a multitude of responsibilities. Don’t feel defeated when you are overburdened because stress is a part of life. My mom has always said, “if you need something done, give it to a busy person.” This makes a lot more sense to me now because although my life is hectic I have never felt more productive and empowered!