Column: Domino Effect

I wake up to my 6:30 alarm that tempts me to stay in the comfort of my warm bed, but I somehow muster the motivation to get up to get ready for school. But, I’m exhausted. 

I wake up feeling like I only slept for 30 minutes. I put on my clothes and jewelry, brush my teeth and do my hair and head to school. I arrive at school at 7:25 am. With this extra hour before school I use it to not only eat breakfast which the school provides, but to also finish my homework from the day before since I had gotten off of work late and didn’t have time to complete it. Although my school work does not come out as good as I want it to be I still give myself credit for even completing it. At least I did it, I think.

After my dreadful seven hour school day watching the hours go by the last bell finally rings. I feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement to be done with school for the day. But, suddenly a cloud of disappointment and frustration overtake me as I remember- I have work. As soon as I get home from school I change into my work uniform and scarf down some food quickly before I go in. Sometimes I don’t even have enough time to eat before work. This routine can become very draining and tiring. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about 34 percent of high school students work part time for about 20 hours a week or less. The struggles of high school and work can be very overwhelming for some including myself. It feels like I’m caught in a loop. School. Work. Homework. Repeat. Repeating the same process over and over again until it feels like a never ending cycle. 

As a high school student who works and recently created my own clothing brand it is hard to maintain a good balance. The way my life is set up is like a domino effect, one misstep can affect all three parts of my life. For example, I can’t stay after school to retake tests or attend after school tutorials because of my work schedule. If I did stay after school I would be late to work so instead I have to wake up even earlier in the morning and that makes me even more tired at work. Waking up early for school and sleeping late due to work makes it very difficult to catch up on sleep. 

Not only do I have to attend both school and work but I also run a small t-shirt business. When it comes to making a shirt for a customer I try to complete their shirt as soon as possible so that I satisfy the customer. That means that when I get home from work I try my best to make a shirt before bed. The process of making a shirt is not complicated, it is just mainly time consuming. At the end of my long day I change out of my work uniform, take a quick shower and put on some joggers and finally lay down to go to sleep. I have to repeat this whole process the very next day. 

Not only do I have to go to work, but my daily homework assignments add more stress to the balance that I am trying to figure out. Students spend so much time and effort in class just to be assigned even more work at home which is where we get a break from school. I agree that school is important but it feels like spending seven hours on school work is already enough time especially for students like myself who also work. 

Although I have to make a large amount of sacrifices to maintain good grades at school, do well at work, and keep my customers satisfied I know that it will all be worth it in the end. As I go through all this I reassure myself that I am doing the right thing for my future and that all this exhaustion and hard work is for something. My goal in life is to become financially free and not have to worry about money problems. The sacrifice will be worth it, I tell myself. I do all this to have a good education and money to start on bigger projects and businesses for the future. Balancing all these things is hard and tiring but it will be worth it. 

School can take a real toll. In almost every class period I see at least one student either asleep or to the point where they are about to fall asleep. We are all going through some things that leave us feeling exhausted such as work or sports and it may feel like you are stuck but I have to believe that great things are happening. We have to remember we are only teenagers. We don’t have the routine and balance figured out yet, but hey, at least we are trying. I am trying, and today, that’s enough.