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Striking the Balance: A Guide to Managing Work and School for High School Students

Brian Hernandez
Aug 22, 2023
Posted by: Brian Hernandez

Striking the Balance: A Guide to Managing Work and School for High School Students

For high school students, the juggling act between academic responsibilities and part-time work can seem daunting. However, with the right strategies and mindset, it's entirely possible to successfully manage both aspects of life. 

As you embark on this journey, here's some valuable advice to help you find harmony between your schoolwork and job commitments:

  1. Prioritize and Plan: The cornerstone of effective time management is setting clear priorities. Create a weekly schedule that outlines your classes, study time, work shifts, and other commitments. This will help you visualize your time and allocate it wisely.
  2. Use a Calendar or Planner: Invest in a physical planner or digital calendar to keep track of important dates, assignments, exams, and work shifts. Having a visual representation of your schedule will prevent oversights and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
  3. Establish Boundaries: While it's important to honor your commitments, it's equally crucial to set boundaries. Avoid overloading yourself by taking on more shifts than you can handle. Remember, burnout can hinder your academic and work performance.
  4. Effective Communication: Keep an open line of communication with both your employer and teachers. Let your employer know your availability and limitations upfront. If school responsibilities increase temporarily, communicate this to your employer to avoid scheduling conflicts.
  5. Utilize Breaks Wisely: During breaks between classes or work shifts, maximize your time by reviewing notes, tackling small assignments, or preparing for upcoming tasks. These short periods can add up and help you stay ahead in your studies.
  6. Stay Organized: Maintain a tidy study space and keep your materials organized. This will save you time and reduce stress when you're trying to locate resources for assignments or projects.
  7. Practice Self-Care: Balancing work and school can be demanding, so don't neglect your well-being. Get enough sleep, eat healthily, and engage in activities that recharge you. When you're well-rested and refreshed, you'll perform better in both areas.
  8. Avoid Procrastination: Procrastination can be your worst enemy when you're managing multiple responsibilities. Break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and tackle them one by one. This approach will make daunting tasks seem more achievable.
  9. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Whether it's from a teacher, coworker, or family member, seeking assistance can alleviate stress and prevent tasks from becoming overwhelming.
  10. Reflect and Adjust: Regularly assess how your balancing act is working. Are you excelling in one area while neglecting the other? Adjust your schedule and strategies as needed to ensure a healthier equilibrium.

Managing work and school may pose challenges, but it's a valuable opportunity to cultivate time management, responsibility, and resilience skills that will benefit you throughout life.

Remember, the ability to manage competing demands is a skill that will serve you well in your future endeavors.

DOL Guidelines for Young Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has established specific rules and regulations regarding the employment of teenagers, aimed at ensuring their safety and well-being while balancing the need for work experience.

These rules are outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and vary depending on the age of the teen and the type of work they are engaged in.

Here are some key DOL rules for teen workers:

Age Requirements: Texas has no restrictions on maximum working hours for minors aged 16 and 17. There are hour restrictions only for children ages 14 and 15, with separate state and federal laws that cover their work hours. All businesses are subject to state law but only those businesses covered by the FLSA are subject to the federal law.

Texas State Law

State law states that 14- and 15- year olds:

  • Can work no more than 8 hours in one day.
  • Can work no more than 48 hours in one week.
  • Cannot go to work before 5 a.m.
  • Cannot work after 10 p.m. on a day that is followed by a school day, including summer school sessions when applicable.
  • Cannot work past midnight on a day that is not followed by a school day.

Federal Law

  • FLSA states that 14- and 15- year olds:
  • May not work during school hours.
  • Can work no more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week when school is not in session.
  • Can work no more than 3 hours in a day or 18 hours in a week when school is in session.
  • Can work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year. However, between June 1 and Labor Day, they may work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Hazardous Jobs:

The DOL prohibits teens under the age of 18 from working in hazardous occupations. These include jobs involving heavy machinery, power tools, construction, and other potentially dangerous activities.

Hours and Times of Work:

Teens are generally not allowed to work during school hours.

There are limitations on the hours they can work, especially during school days and evenings, to ensure that their education is not compromised.

Breaks and Meal Periods:

Teens are entitled to breaks and meal periods, with specific requirements depending on the duration of their work shift.

Minimum Wage:

Teen workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, whichever is higher.


Employers are required to keep accurate records of the hours worked by teen employees and their ages.

Work Permits:

Some states require work permits for teenagers to work legally. These permits often involve a process that includes parental consent and verification of the teen's age and school enrollment. Fortunately, in Texas, minors as young as 14 are able to seek employment. There is no requirement for a work permit.

The Texas Workforce Commission's Wage and Hour Department offers a comprehensive guide on Texas Child Labor Law: Click Here

The DOL's Wage and Hour Division provides resources and information about the rules and regulations for teen workers to ensure their safety and well-being while gaining valuable work experience.

Teens, parents, and employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these rules to ensure compliance and create a safe and positive work environment for young workers.

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