West students work through the holidays

For students at Normal West High School who work in retail, this holiday season is one that will bring stress, long hours, and extra work. The effects of working long holiday hours will take a toll on their mood, school work, and mental health.

One of the main reasons that workers become stressed during the holidays is because of Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving where special deals are offered to kick off Christmas shopping. It is the busiest shopping day of the year and stores are often open for nearly 24 hours straight, sometimes even more. Among the workers who deal with the stress and chaos of this day are many high school students.

“I always have to work longer and later hours during the holidays,” said Sydney Stoewer, a senior at West who works at Gordman’s. “Our store opens earlier and closes later now and a lot of times I have to stay really late.”

These extra hours take over students’ free time so that they don’t have time for anything else except for work. “It makes me more stressed and tired and I don’t have enough time to relax or finish my homework,” said Stoewer. “I can’t even spend Thanksgiving with my family because I have to be at work at 6 in the evening on Thanksgiving Day  to prepare for Black Friday.”

Another student at West felt the exact same way about holiday hours and how they affect students. “I do worse in school around the holidays because I don’t have any time for it because I get home so late,” stated Bonnie Mabry, a Toys R Us worker and junior at West.

Even students who have jobs that aren’t in retail and don’t have to experience the madness of holiday shoppers are affected by the chaos that comes with the holiday season. “It always gets busier at Moe’s around the holidays because people are out shopping and don’t eat at home. I have to work more because it’s a lot busier,” said Devin Timmons, a senior at West.

Students would like for there to be a change in the way that they’re treated during the holiday season at their jobs. “If they know that we’re in school and have other things to do I don’t understand why we’re given as much work as the people who work full time there,” added Stoewer.

“I don’t think they should be allowed to keep us later on the weekdays because we have to get up early for school the next day. They should save that for the people who don’t have anything to do in the morning,” said Mabry.

People typically associate the holiday season with fun and joy, but it seems that for students who are overworked the feelings that come along with the season are just the opposite.