The Struggle is Real

For some, juggling school and work is its own job

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The Struggle is Real

Teachers have noticed that more students don’t have time after school for extra help because of after school jobs. Acacia Johnston ‘19 works on homework during her period 6 study hall. She has to be at work for 2:45. “It’s a fun, easy job,” Johnston said.

Teachers have noticed that more students don’t have time after school for extra help because of after school jobs. Acacia Johnston ‘19 works on homework during her period 6 study hall. She has to be at work for 2:45. “It’s a fun, easy job,” Johnston said.

Emily Poitras

Teachers have noticed that more students don’t have time after school for extra help because of after school jobs. Acacia Johnston ‘19 works on homework during her period 6 study hall. She has to be at work for 2:45. “It’s a fun, easy job,” Johnston said.

Emily Poitras

Emily Poitras

Teachers have noticed that more students don’t have time after school for extra help because of after school jobs. Acacia Johnston ‘19 works on homework during her period 6 study hall. She has to be at work for 2:45. “It’s a fun, easy job,” Johnston said.

By Emily Poitras, Presque Isle High School

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Abby Michaud ’20 rushes out of her period 7 class to get to Graves Shop ’n Save where she’s expected by 2:55 to start her 3:00 shift. Before she goes to work she has to change and drive across town. “I have to change and wait for traffic to clear in the parking lot most days,” Michaud said. The hardest part is not having time for minor things, like using the restroom or cleaning off her car in the winter. Michaud started working at Graves two and a half years ago so she could pay her phone bill, car payment and insurance.

While students help provide the part-time labor needed for many local businesses, it can come at a cost for the students in terms of losing time to get the help they need on school work.

Depending on the day, Michaud may not get out of work until 8:30 p.m., and by then she feels unmotivated to start her homework. Most days Michaud feels like she is behind in her classes, partly because she is tired after a long day, and partly because she does not have time to ask teachers for help before her shift starts.

“I feel like some days I just can’t do it all,” Michaud said. “I get called in a lot, and sometimes I don’t get days off.”  During school breaks she works 40 hours a week.  If she wants time off it’s difficult, because the manager expects her to be there, plus she needs the hours for her bills.

Another student, Thomas Peterson ’19 heads to his locker to grab his uniform and goes to work at Dunkin Donuts where his shift starts at 3:00 or 3:30 p.m., depending on the day. The hardest part is remembering to grab his uniform, and, in fact, that has made him late quite a few times.

Peterson has been working there for the last two months. His employer understands that he is a student and needs time off occasionally. “The only reason why I work at 3:30 is so that I won’t be crunched for time after school,” Peterson said. Peterson admits, however, that he feels like he is falling behind all the time in classes.

Acacia Johnston ’19 has to be at her job by 2:45, which is only a half mile from the high school at Norogala Ribbons. It only takes a few minutes to get there, however, she struggles because of the 2:40 p.m. heavy traffic around the high school. Her boss is lenient with high school kids, and if she is a few minutes late, all that means is that she doesn’t get the extra minutes.

“It’s more my choice to get there as early as I do,” Johnston said. There are times when Johnston is called to the office after school for a message, but she waits until the next morning to retrieve it. A lot of the time, she says, stress comes from trying to do everything at once.  She says that she puts most of the pressure on herself.

Social Studies teacher Zachary Powers says that there will always be that group of kids that work, and it’s always been a factor of teaching at the high school level. He says he doesn’t chase down students; it is up to them to pass work in, “I understand that sometimes kids have to work to help their families,” Powers said.

“If I find out about a student who has to work for whatever reason, I’ll find a way to help them pass,” Powers said. Powers also mentioned that a lot of it comes down to time management and prioritizing school. For the students who work because they want to, they may need help figuring out how to prioritize. Powers said that if students choose work over school that is their choice, but they have to understand their grades will slip because of it.

Juggling work and school is a struggle for students; learning time management and knowing what’s due helps. “Honestly if you don’t have bills to pay I wouldn’t get a job.” Michaud said.

This story was originally published on The Anchor on May 16, 2019.