Jobs can take a toll on teen workers

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Taking into consideration the seven hours per day the average student spends at school, in addition to whatever extracurricular activities participate in, it seems impossible for a teen to take on a job and continue to succeed in school.

However, according to Georgia's Department of Labor, 80 percent of teenagers work sometime during their high school career. Of these teens, 50 percent work more than 15 hours per week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a teenager should participate in no more than 18 hours of work per school week, working only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to remain alert in school and healthy.

For many teen workers, this is not the case. Students who work longer hours and come home later have less time for homework or other school assignments.

Kendra Tubman, a student who takes Advanced Placement classes and also works as a cashier at a drugstore, often faces this problem.

"I usually work on the weekends, but every once in a while I have to come in on weekdays. On these days I sometimes don't get home from work until after 11. Sometimes when I come home so late I don't have enough time to finish all of my homework. I'll study for one class and try to work on the rest of my homework during the day."

Even weekend work can interfere with study time.

"I work on the weekends, but if I have an assignment due on a Monday, working can definitely have a big impact on weekend assignments or long term stuff," said Vernique Sibert, 17, who works at a fast food restaurant. "I usually work up to 18 hours on the weekend (Friday-Sunday), and I find that I'm often up until 1 or 2 in the morning finishing homework assignments,"

"I love my job because I need the money and I've made a lot of new friends. But at times it can be hard to keep up with my school work as well."

In addition to interfering with homework, teens find it harder to participate in other school related activities.

"I'm a member of many clubs at my school. When I am scheduled to work on the weekdays, I miss a lot of my meetings. I also miss out on senior activities held after school," adds Kendra, a senior at Evans High School.

Some teens have difficulty finding a median between work and school. However, other teens, such as Erica Ferguson, 17, find ways to work school into their jobs.

"I used to work as an attendant at a tanning salon. I made sure to choose a job that I wouldn't be too busy at. This way I was working, but in my spare time I could work on my homework and other assignments."

LOOKING FOR A JOB?

If you are a teen searching for a job, consider the following tips before committing to a job.

-Examine your course load. If your classes require excessive studying at home, consider waiting until the summer to find a job.

-Search for a job that requires few hours or requires you to work only on the weekends. Schedule your homework accordingly, so you don't end up working on assignments at the last minute.

-Before applying for a job, consider becoming your own boss. For example, jobs such as babysitting or cutting grass revolve around your schedule. In addition you can determine your own salary.

Jackie Rodriguez is a senior at Evans High School

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