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Jobs vs. school performance at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School

At her after-school job, senior Ashlyn Hilbrands takes a customer’s order at Firehouse Subs. (Jan Saquella/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

Balancing school and a job is not an uncommon struggle for students. Long hours and late-night shifts can interfere with school, leaving little to no time to complete homework. Although having an after-school job can contribute important skills for the future, it may negatively affect school performance.

“(A part time job can affect school work) if students work extensive hours on weekdays, especially closing shifts, and if they do not have the best time-management skills,” Mesa Red Mountain High School junior Julia Hoyman said.

Students who work late shifts often end up being absent more in school. A 2011 study led by Dr. Laurence Steinberg of Temple University found that students who worked more than 20 hours per week were less engaged in school and often showed a negative attitude when at school.

“I have seen work interfere with high school when students work too many hours,” Red Mountain High student advisor Laura Contreras said. “If students are working until 11 p.m. or midnight, they are often absent or tardy to school the next day. Furthermore, they don’t always complete their homework and (are) overtired, which all interfere with academic success.”

Besides being a resume builder, after-school jobs can help develop skills such as time management and balancing between activities. Students can also acquire skills related to their interests, as well as an understanding of good work ethic.

“Having a job has benefitted me,” Hoyman said. “I am able to manage my time better and have learned to work better with others. Since having a job, I have become less shy, therefore, making it easy for me to communicate with others.”

Although many part-time jobs can benefit students by providing skills that they can use after high school, time spent working can hinder the academic success of students. However, students can also overcome the challenges of balancing school and work by using time efficiently and by planning ahead.

– Carly House is a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

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