Being a working teenager


Photo courtesy of Rocky O'Shea

Senior Rocky O’Shea works at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Bloomington.

Hannah Houston, Reporter

While most teenagers stress about being in sports, clubs, and other activities along with academics, there are a lot of others who are also trying to balance work with everything else. These U-High students have typical high school jobs working in retail and the food industry.

According to in 2020, about 1.3 million high school students between the ages of 16 and 19 years old had a job.

Senior Rocky O’Shea works at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Bloomington. O’Shea currently takes 4 AP (Advanced Placement) classes and works two or three days a week and about six to seven-hour shifts.

“I make sure not to have myself scheduled too many days a week,” O’Shea said. “And (I) give myself some days when I have nothing just to focus on school work”

Some students who have a free period during the day take the opportunity to work on homework including senior Zoe Zeller, who works at Avanti’s Italian Restaurant in Normal working for her Dad. She is currently taking one AP class.

“I only work one night a week or twice a week,” Zeller said. “I have homework daily, but I try to get it done during my free periods, or I have an hour of homework at home.”

Senior Cody Shouse who works at Monical’s Pizza in Normal takes one Illinois State University (ISU) class and typically receives one to two hours of homework a night.

“I normally work three days with four or five-hour shifts,” Shouse said.

These students have also found different ways to de-stress when work and balancing school gets overwhelming.

“I do most of my work during the day during my free period and I maximize my time so that I’m not super stressed out at work,” O’Shea said.

“Hanging out with my friends helps relieve stress and working out helps,” Shouse said

Zeller has found even more creative ways to relax.

“I sleep,” Zeller said.

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