Students work to balance school, jobs and fun

By Addison Selvey Smith-Cotton High School

December 26, 2013

Many high school students have to balance schoolwork, after-school activities and a paying job. How do teens go out and have fun with their friends if they are busy with their schoolwork and job?

Many students start to get jobs during their sophomore year and will continue to work through the rest of high school. Commonly teens choose to work on weekends instead of working weekdays so they don’t have to worry about not getting their homework done. It’s typical for high school students to get jobs at fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and so on, or work as servers or clean-up crew members at places like Golden Corral or Country Kitchen.

Smith-Cotton High School junior Airianna Williams said the hardest part of maintaining a job is getting homework done. ,

“I try to do most of my homework seminar,” Williams said. “If I can’t get all of it done I finish it on break.”

She said she plans to have one or two jobs before she graduates high school, but for right now it’s McDonald’s. Williams is also in JROTC, which she said affects her working ability with its focus on leadership, responsibility and honesty.

“Work can be fun if you like the people you work with,” she said.

Choosing the classes for the school year is an important thing to remember.

“I think some kids do consider their work schedule before they pick classes, but the problem lies in the master schedule,” said Smith-Cotton sophomore counselor Pamela Crafton. “Sometimes it is not possible to offer classes the same hour every year. So when that happens, it can really mess up plans for the kids that are trying to think ahead. Often times, students get their job, then try to change their class schedule to meet their needs, especially if they are seniors and interested in work study.”

There are also classes to help with working hours.

“If students want to take work study, they can either begin their day later or end it earlier,” Crafton said. “To have work study, a senior would have to work a minimum of eight hours per week at a job that will pay them with a check. That means that seasonal jobs like bailing hay won’t work; neither will any job where they are paid cash. Seniors can have up to two work studies per day, either at the beginning or the end of the day. With work study, you work your normal shift — say it’s 5 (p.m.) to close. Then you might want work study in the morning, so you would come to school at the beginning of 2nd hour.”

Where do teenagers work at when they graduate from high school? Many young people will attend college and look for a profession they’ll be able to get more money from than a normal paying job. If a student drops out of high school they will most likely remain working at a small-paying job and not get a good education on the side.

What is the difference between a job and profession? A job is something a person does to make money to get by for a little while, often with barely any benefits. A profession is something a person does that they enjoy, get paid good money, and get benefits.


This week, the Sedalia Democrat will publish stories written by students in the Journalistic Writing class at Smith-Cotton High School. Over the past few months, these young reporters learned to research their topics, conduct interviews and write in journalistic styles.