At the end of Year 11, going into Year 12, I know many people who dropped everything in order to make studying their sole focus in the coming year. They decided to stop their music lessons, not audition for production, leave their sports teams and quit their jobs. I, on the other hand, decided that the summer holidays preceding Year 12 was the perfect time to seek out and get a job.

The matter of whether or not you should undertake part time or casual work during Year 12 is one that has been heavily debated. Both sides of the argument present some very valid points, but I don’t believe there is a yes/no answer as to whether you should have a job during Year 12; it is the way you go about your job if you do decide to undertake one, and you as an individual that determines that.

PRIORITISE

Seeking out a job just before the commencement of what was probably the most important year of my schooling thus far did not mean that I was no longer going to prioritise school work. Doing well in school was still very important to me, I just wanted to get some work experience before going into university where I would have to be more independent and self supporting.

If you decide to work during Year 12, you should make it clear to your employer that you are a year 12 student so that they can be understanding for when you want to take time off for exams or important assignments. Having a job should not be a problem if you still prioritise your study. If you find that undertaking Year 12 as well as your job is too stressful, don’t compromise on your performance in school in order to accommodate your work. Ultimately, if you are caught between finishing that English essay and taking that 5-11pm shift, choose your essay.

TIME

A common argument against having a job in Year 12 is that it detracts from time that could be spent studying. Now, contrary to common belief, you do not have to study 40 hours a day, every day (with no breaks in between) in order to be successful in VCE. Therefore, working once or twice a week really shouldn’t be that much of a hindrance as long as you are responsible and smart about which shifts you take.

Here are some of my recommendations:

-       Don’t work crazy shift times (eg. before school, overnight etc.)

-       Try to limit the weekly amount time you work to 10 hrs; you can take on more shifts during holidays if you want to  

-       Take some time off during exam time so that you can focus fully on revising

I was lucky enough to be employed at a place that was able to accommodate my availabilities and were flexible and understanding when I asked for time off. However, if you work somewhere that is rather strict and unforgiving about taking days off, you should seriously assess whether the job is worth it and if it is being detrimental to your studies.

BALANCE

If you’re part of the local baseball and rugby team, play flute in the school’s jazz and concert bands, have Chinese school on Wednesday afternoons and take judo classes on the weekends, it’s probably best not to take on a job on top of all of those commitments (not to mention, the myriad of schoolwork that will be required of you in Year 12).

Balance is very important during VCE. Too much study and you can burn out. Too many extra commitments, including a job, and you have no time to study. So when deciding whether or not to apply for that job at Macca’s, take into account all of the other things on your plate and assess whether it is in your capacity to manage them all without having to compromise on your study.

As for me, I was still able achieve a good result and get into my first course preference despite working throughout the whole year. Would I have performed better if I hadn’t had a job? Perhaps. But do I regret it? Nope.

In the end having a job in Year 12 doesn’t have to be a hindrance if you prioritise your study. So, be smart about when and how long you work and strike a healthy balance between all of your commitments!

-       Written by Anna :>

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