Working in High School: The Effects on Students


The HyVee that Asher Promenschenkel is employed at. Photo by Aleena Barlow.

Aleena Barlow, Staff Reporter

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 4 high school students in the US works some sort of job, equating to almost 4 million students across the nation. But while a job usually means money for entertainment or college, what are the effects of working on high school students socially, academically, and mentally? Some Normal West students share their experiences in the workforce.

Trinity Bauer, a West senior employed at Dairy Queen, expressed her frustrations at her co-workers. “Do not work at Dairy Queen…someone once asked me how to empty out a dustpan,” she stated. She also claims that working has stressed her out more, and her mental health has been on the decline since starting the job. However, she has managed to keep her good grades despite this and has actually made friends from her job, non co-worker friends not having space in her tight schedule.

Isabella McKee, a West senior employed at Pheasant Lanes Family Fun Center, had the opposite to say of her work experiences, stating, “In the beginning, I was anxious but now I feel mentally steady…at work.”. Her school performance has also remained relatively unaffected and the only issue McKee has faced in regards to balancing her job and social life is she doesn’t “really ever feel like going out on my days off.” Otherwise, being employed and a high school student has not affected her life negatively.

Asher Promenschenkel, a West senior employed at HyVee, has mixed opinions of his position as a working student. “It takes away time from my girlfriend and my other school friends. But a lot of marching band kids work at HyVee too…I am glad with who I work with,” he stated. However, he also mentioned several of the downsides of working.

While most working students enjoy the paycheck, Promenschenkel is not afforded the same luxury. “I work to pay for my car insurance, gas, maintenance, and my extracurricular activities…in order to transport myself to these activities without family conflicts, I need to drive. Paying to drive costs money…if I didn’t do any extracurricular activities and took the bus to school…I would be financially sound.”

Overall, it would appear that working has different impacts on different students with pros and cons regardless of the place of employment. Working also affects students differently, some barely affected by being employed while others struggle significantly under the pressures of balancing school and work.

No one student is going to have the same experience working even if they share similar opinions on their job and if a student is considering finding a job, there is no study or article that will tell them if they are ready to handle the pressures of working. It is fully up to them and what they know they can handle.