BY ALEXIS HOSTETTER
High school alone can be very stressful for many teens. Though it is very typical that during their freshman year, they get their first job. It can be difficult finding time between school and work to take care of themselves and mental health. Adding friends and sports to the equation makes it that much more difficult.
As a high school senior, I worked roughly 30 hours a week. Which left me very little time after school to do things most teens do. I went home, and the first thing I wanted to do was sleep. Then I realized I had homework. Getting all my homework done after school would often take up most, if not all, of my free time between school and work.
Not sleeping enough will most likely take a toll on your mental health. So with waking up at 6 a.m. and not getting home until after 9 or 10 most nights, how do we find the time to take care of ourselves? It is recommended that a working, full-time student should work 10-15 hours a week. For students who drive and help pay bills, cutting back their hours simply won’t help. For better insight on the topic, I interviewed two of my co-workers who go to school at Truman, senior Lacy Kiper and junior Allison Price. Both students work between 20-30 hours a week, and they believe it affects their mental health, as well as school work. On most days Kiper will work until 10:30pm, leaving her 30 minutes to get home and take her sociology test before it is closed. For Price, most days it is a race to get home in time to take care of her nieces and nephews, before rushing to work, hoping to make it on time.
Mental Health America suggests that if you are feeling overwhelmed, to watch out for symptoms of possible mental disorders. There are a lot of different mental disorders, and some of them will even lead down a path to an eating disorder. Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety from balancing school and work will reflect back onto both work and school.You will find yourself unmotivated to do any work. The reflection on your grades will bring even more stress. It is important to notice the signs early on and find ways to take care of yourself.
Simple things that can help with the balance and the feelings could be simply communicating with a professor or supervisor. Some activities you can do that will help ease your stress could be things such as coloring, going for a walk, taking a nap, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. Remember to prioritize yourself above all, and have your priorities between work and school set before you step in the field. It is always okay to take a step back and work on yourself.