Don't let work affect grades

Money, money, money.
We hear about it every day of our lives. It's what our economy thrives on and what we all need to survive in this world.
We all have heard the famous saying, "Money doesn't grow on trees." On the other hand, our parents are always saying, "If you want to go to college, you have to keep your grades up." So, how can we get some of this money and still get good grades?
Well, for teens, realizing that we have to start earning our own money is the easy part; the hard part is finding a job. We now have to pay for more things, like our own car and insurance. At first you may have enough money in the bank for one month of insurance, and maybe even your first car payment, but after that you see that this process is going to cost you more than you thought.
Reality hits: That is when you start looking at those good-paying jobs like a mechanic or a photographer. Then, reality hits and you start applying to those wonderful fast food restaurants, like McDonald's.
You finally get crowned with the burger hat, and you start cooking those burgers, wondering, "Just how hungry is America?" Your answer lies in those greasy hands and dirty stains that become a part of your uniform after the first few Big Macs.
On Friday, it all becomes worthwhile when you get your first golden paycheck. It all seems so easy, like a piece of cake, you work, and you get the money. Just when you think you can handle this working life, you get home and exhaustion sets in.
You come home late, ready to go to bed when you remember that big biology test tomorrow. What are you going to do? You panic for a few minutes, and then you start studying like you've never studied before. You finally get to bed somewhere around 1 a.m. and fall fast asleep, only to wake up again in a few hours.
Sleepy at school: Then, the next day at school you find yourself falling asleep in class and not caring about what's going on around you. You can't wait to get home, but by the time you get there, it's time to go back to work. The process keeps repeating itself, and eventually your grades start to drop.
This is what happens to most teens when they start getting an after-school job. Money becomes more important than schoolwork. So, you have to choose which priority is higher on your list, school or work. This is where the problems begin.
Eventually, you get your next report card and since your grades have dropped, you lose the good student discount on your car insurance. Now, not only are you in trouble with your parents, but you also have to start working more to make enough money to pay for the higher price of insurance.
Work it out: It doesn't have to be that way, though. Although your grades have dropped, you can change that by studying during your break or having someone help you when you have a little down time.
If that doesn't work, then maybe you need to cut down on the work hours and focus more on schoolwork. This way you can bring up your grades and get that good student discount on your insurance again.
Either way, school is important, and you shouldn't let the responsibilities of being a teen-ager change that. Making money is good, but don't overwork yourself and don't let it take away from important study time.
If all else fails, take a walk in the woods. Who knows, maybe you'll discover that money does grow on trees.
XAshlee, 16, is a sophomore at Western Reserve High School, a majorette, Girl Scout and youth representative to the Council on Ministries at Berlin Center United Methodist Church.

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