The Working Student This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     As if schoolwork, homework, peer pressure and social lives are not enough, many teenagers are adding one more item to their hectic schedules: part-time jobs. Stresses about school, sports, friends and family take a toll on our lives, but knowing we have to go to work makes it even more unpleasant. Teens who juggle all this deserve more credit than just a pay-stub with a bunch of numbers and initials that look like hieroglyphics.

As a working student, I know how it feels to sit in class all day listening to teachers droning on when all I can think about is how long my day will be since I’m working late that night. Then I remember an English essay is due and suddenly, it feels as if there is no time left.

In most people’s eyes, it’s not normal for a 16-year-old to feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to complete all her tasks. Adolescence is thought to be a time of leisure and freedom from responsibility, not stressing over how many hours you were assigned this week while wondering how that math test turned out, or thinking about what’s happening this weekend. Teens who take the initiative to earn some independence by making money deserve recognition, not only because they are helping their parents by spending their own money, but because they go to school for seven hours, work for four, continue working on homework, and somehow manage to fit in time for household chores and then maybe, time for themselves. An eleven-hour day is what a working student endures, which is more than an adult works. It’s surprising that most teens don’t have hypertension or gray hair.

Employment forces teens to see how the world works. At the grocery store, I see the frustrated and impatient side of people. The public can be rude and try to take advantage of me. Underage kids who want to purchase alcohol or tobacco usually get in my line. They assume because I’m young and a girl, I won’t ask for identification. I, however, ID everyone who looks under 30. The public also thinks they can trick younger workers. People give me expired coupons, or claim there’s a sale when there isn’t. They seem to think I’ll overlook this. It’s difficult to deal with this age prejudice. Teenagers who are out working, getting their schoolwork done, maintaining their own lives and somehow finding time to be kids should have society’s praise for accomplishing tasks most adults wouldn’t attempt.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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