Getting a job in high school is pretty common nowadays. Everyone seems to have a job working at Maccas, the Coles down the road or some other hospo or retail gig. At the very least, everyone is earning a few bucks here and there babysitting or helping out Dad on the weekend so they can scrimp and save for a car, festival tickets or a gap year. You gotta pay for your Netflix account and Maccas feeds somehow, right?

Not having to rely on the bank of mum and dad is one of the highlights of getting a job, and even when the customers are shitty, you’re still earning some cash to spend on whatever you want. Plus, you’re building up the experience that your future employers are looking for. Trust me, your hours spent pulling beers or flipping burgers will pay off in the long haul.

It’s pretty easy when you start working in Year 9, 10 or 11. You don’t have a lot of stress, but you do have a lot of free time. Your school bell for the end of the day rings pretty early and you’ve got a set schedule, so there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a few shifts here and there. Even if you feel like you’re super stressed out with exams and assignments, the reality is you’ve got a lot of weekends and evenings that you can be earning some solid pay cheques, if that’s how you want to spend your time.

But then you hit Year 12. Your workload increases, the intensity amps up and suddenly you have to study for your exams, get your major work done, nap, hand in past papers, cry about procrastinating everything, memorise your English quotes, eat, sleep and keep up with Married At First Sight as well as working. How are you meant to balance it all??

At the same time, your teachers are telling you need to focus more on your studies, so it seems like your only option is to ditch your job.

While managing work and studying can be a little bit hard, it’s definitely not impossible and there’s plenty of reasons you shouldn’t ditch your job in Year 12.

1. It’s going to help you manage stress

If there was one thing that I actually liked about my shitty waitressing gig it was that once I got to work I had no choice but to actually work. I couldn’t look at my phone and I was so busy fake smiling, handing out plates of food, taking orders and making drinks that I didn’t have a spare second to think about anything else- especially how stressed I was about school. It also put things in perspective- I spoke to a lot of different people while I was working so I learnt about some who had flunked school and gone on to do some really cool shit, some who were travelling or taking a year off study and some who reminded me that Year 12 wasn’t the be all and end all.

2. Your mates

The friends you make through work are honestly some of the best. Even if you never see each other unless the roster says you’re on the same shift, there’s something special about the people you bond with at work. It might be because you don’t see them in ‘real life’, but I feel like my work mates knew more about me than anyone else, even if all we do is talk shit about customers.

3. Money

There’s nothing wrong with wanting some of your own money and now’s a good time to get it. Plus, if it all gets a little too much, especially around exam time or when your major work is due, there’s nothing stopping you from taking a couple of weeks off to get your shit together, just don’t ditch it altogether.