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"Go For It": The Work/School Balancing Act

Ximena Angeles-Angeles -- Eagle Staff Writer

Many people say that juggling work and school is hard. Others say that if you're good at organizing your time then it might be easy. Many FCHS students and even some teachers juggle work, school, and even outside activities.

Senior John Egenberg gets his game face on before his shift at McDonald's. (Courtesy photo)

Students sometimes work nearly full-time outside of the school day. Senior John Egenberg who works at McDonald’s said, “Typically I work 55-65 hours in a biweekly period. Most days are 5-6.5 hours but Friday and Saturday are usually 6-8 hours.” Senior Emory White stated, “On a normal week I'll get at least 30 hours which for me would be 5 days. At Cannaday’s [Market and Deli] I work a 6 hour shift 3 to 9.”

Some teachers juggle work and school as well. Assistant Principal Allyson Lynch is studying Educational Leadership to earn her Doctorate in Education through Radford University. She explained, ”I spend approximately 40-50 hours a week on my job (sometimes more in a week) and approximately 5-10 hours on classwork.” 8th grade Student Intervention Specialist Heather Quinn is studying to earn her Reading Specialist Certification.“I am usually at work for about 40 hours a week." She said her classwork outside of school takes, "1 hour in a weekly zoom session with my professor and classmates, 1 hour weekly tutoring a 6th grade student, and about 7 hours on online course content/modules or readings, assignments and quizzes.”

Junior Jacob Hylton all decked out for Jersey Mike's. (Courtesy photo)

Students and teachers have different reasons for working both inside and outside the classroom. “I’m working at McDonald's because I'd like to have cash to spend and it’s a rather easy job for the pay,” explained Egenberg. White agreed: “I'm working [at Cannaday’s] to save up money for college and because it's 5 minutes away from my house.” Junior Jacob Hylton explained that he’s working to save for college and a car. Lynch says she's returned to school because “I wanted to continue to further my education in my field in order to better serve the students, staff, and this community.”

Senior Emory White gives his job at Cannaday's Market and Deli two thumbs up. (Courtesy photo)

Nearly everyone we interviewed agreed that it’s important to take time for yourself when working and going to school. Lynch said, “You…can't forget to take those life moments for yourself (exercise, get your nails done, etc.)!” White agreed, “You don't want to spread yourself too thin or you won't enjoy life in general.” Egenberg explained that without balance, life can feel like it’s all work and no play. “Make sure to allow yourself some time outside of work and school as it can feel like you're working two jobs but only getting paid for one.”

They also emphasize it's important to make time for other activities. Lynch elaborated, “I am also a mom to two kids, so life is very busy! I also help with a few civic organizations.” She’s not the only one using her spare time to help others. “I volunteer at my church with after school programs for the elementary school kids,“ White explained. Egenberg also stays involved with church and friends in addition to work and school. “I hangout with friends and go to Younglife on Monday,” he said.

Assistant Principal Allyson Lynch with son Holden and daughter Emily. Lynch juggles work, family, and a PhD program. (Courtesy photo)

Still there are pitfalls to watch out for. Hylton stated, “I think it's a double edged sword. I think working is a great expression of freedom and the money is nice, but also know too many people that have to work many hours on top of school.” Egenberg emphasized that people should do what they enjoy, but to be careful. “Don't slave away at a job you absolutely despise, but in the same vein don’t do something you love because that will turn into your work and you'll resent it eventually. Don't try to love what you hate.”

In the end, all agreed that there’s a lot to be said for working and going to school.

According to Hylton, “I love the amount of freedom with scheduling and the people are wonderful. The work is fun and fulfilling.” Egenberg feels the same way. “I think it's helpful because it lets you get money as a student and can give you some real world skills but it can also give you something to do.”

White went a step further, describing how work and school builds time management skills. “I believe it's a good idea for students to work after school if they aren't already in an after school program. Working after school forces you to stay responsible and get everything done on time.”

In short, for those thinking about taking on the work/school juggling act, Hylton sums it up best: "Go for it."

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