Beyond the Paycheck: Benefits of Working as a Student

Ki Joon Lee, Staff Writer

Although most students currently qualify to work year-round, not many students have jobs because they fear jeopardizing their grades and losing time. However, having a part-time job while attending high school offers many benefits beyond the obvious monthly paycheck; students are improving character and work ethic while pursuing their passions by exploring future careers.

According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations, teenagers 14 to 15 year-olds are allowed to work 18 hours per week, while 16 to 17 year-olds are legally permitted up to 48 hours. With the current minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, students will make substantial financial gains, which can be used for leisure or saved for the future.

However, employment yields other benefits, such as building an identity and professional behavior, which will be advantageous not only in school but also in future workplaces. In addition, work expectations and duties shape students into mature and responsible individuals ready to face the world after high school.

A major concern among hesitant students and parents is that students will not be able to maintain a balance between school and work. Yet the National Center for Education Statistics found that the GPAs of students who worked part-time were higher than those of students who did not. It seems that the work experience makes students more adept in time management and communication, which can be applied to completing daily homework and group projects.

“I learned what it’s like to actually work in a different environment than school,” sophomore Alene Hata said, who works part-time as an assistant gymnastics coach. “If they [the students] can balance school and working, then I think they should get jobs because it is really fun to get your own paycheck and know that you earned it.”

It is important for students to consider personal interest when looking for a job, whether serving at a restaurant or being an intern in your preferred field. For assistance, Irvine Youth Employment Services, located at the Heritage Park Community Center, offers free help to any young adult between the ages of 19 and 25 in finding the right job and interviewing successfully. Exploiting the opportunities and aid available in the community, students will take a step toward maturity and independence by working outside their comfort zones.