Needing to pay for a trip to New York City himself, senior Josh Guthrie was urged to find a way to make money. However, after finding a job to achieve this goal, Josh discovered that maybe he liked this lifestyle of working.
Now, Josh finds himself working at Chick-Fil-A. However, while most kids would choose to lower their work hours or even quit as school comes in full force, Josh decided to take the challenge of balancing it all.
“I typically work about twenty-two hours a week,” Josh said. “This includes multiple four-to-eleven shifts Monday through Thursday and occasionally an extra Saturday shift.”
Basically, while most kids are settling into bed at eleven, Josh is just leaving work. This means he still has all of his homework he hasn’t finished left to do, and whatever other activities that certain night consists of.
So how does he do it?
“It’s very hard to balance school and work, especially being in four hours of AP classes,” Josh said. “I basically take my days off and work ahead in homework and various projects. I also try to do homework on my break at work or at any other break in my day.”
Josh is absorbing every second of the day in something, whether it is working, school, homework, or some other activity. Most days, he doesn’t even have a few minutes to just relax.
“My work schedule affects time with my family and friends,” Josh said. “Some days I never see my family longer than ten minutes. There are also various fun activities that I would like to participate in, but due to work I am unable.”
With all of the hardships a job seems to bring during the school year, why is he doing it?
Part of it roots out of saving up for his big post-graduation plans. Money is often a necessary component of life, especially when it comes to life plans, and working allows Josh to prepare for that.
However, while Josh enjoys the pay and scholarship options his job provides him with, he also works for the personal benefit it gives him—the emotional benefit.
“I really like helping people,” Josh said, “and at work, I get to do exactly that. Just seeing a smile on a guest’s face makes my day. While I don’t particularly enjoy the hours, the satisfaction of helping customers helps make the job worth it.”
Working late hours during the school year isn’t Josh’s optimal scenario. However, it is something he needs to do in order to achieve his goals, and being able to help others along the way makes it all the more tolerable.
Josh’s work lifestyle has also had its benefits. Sometimes, not being home for seventeen hours and having to figure out how to get all of your stuff done leaves important lessons.
“Balancing everything has really taught me how to manage my time well,” Josh said. “[Working] has forced me into reversing my past procrastination tendencies, tuning out all outside distractions.”
Working so much and having to balance school along with the hours has also opened up some new life lessons for Josh.
“I feel like this job is definitely preparing me for later in life,” Josh said. “College won’t be easy. Balancing a job and a family won’t be easy. It’s just teaching me to be prepared. [Working] also opened my eyes to this mindset of being kind to everyone and jumping on opportunities to serve others.”
Josh is doing something many high school students don’t, and honestly probably couldn’t do. Having always been a driven kid, this task has only been embellished upon his determination. He has the ability to persevere through the challenge of balancing it all.
“[Working so much] has honestly been a huge challenge,” Josh said. “I am constantly tired, due to the late hours, and I am often faced with the threat of a mental breakdown. However, I have learned to push through it all and when a new day comes, I am ready to do it all again.”
Josh’s lifestyle is not easy. He has no room for air in his schedule, but he makes it work.
The arduous balance of lots of work hours and schoolwork is a balance Josh now knows how to manipulate. With each day of hard, constant work, he learns a little bit more. And no matter how much it sucks at the moment, Josh knows it will all pay off in the end.
“Working is important,” Josh said. “There are benefits that come with hard work and determination, and it is important to push for those things. However, it is also important to find the right balance, so you don’t lose track of the really important things: friends, family, and schoolwork.”