What does balance mean to highschool teens?
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
BY: SHAQUALYN SHEDRICK
OCTOBER 31, 2019
Teenagers are expected to make awesome grades, especially if they play a sport or are involved in extracurricular activities. But does anyone stop to think how hard it may be for them to do both? Nowadays, teens want to find independence during high school. They want to work to afford the latest fashions and have the most recent accessories in technology (iphones, ipads, airpods, etc.) How can they have so much responsibility and enjoy the innocence of their childhood?❓❓❓❓
I think it’s wonderful for teens to seek independence through working, maintaining good grades, and being involved with their community. But in doing all of those things, WHEN DO THEY SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FAMILY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Child labor provisions under FLSA are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. Child Labor laws are implemented to protect teens from being over worked. During school days Florida: May work up to 15 hours per week. Not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. and for no more than 3 hours a day on school days, when a school day follows. May work up to 8 hours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and on non-school days, when school days do not follow, until 9 p.m. Rest is just as important as the hustle and the child labor laws are set to be sure students are free from work in enough time to get the rest they so deserve, this is my opinion by the way.
I spent some time with one of my mentees, M. Roberts and we talked about what balance means to her. She’s an 11th grader with 6 classes who works 12 hours a week and wants to continue her involvement in the community as a growing teen. It isn’t every day when I record our conversations so you can imagine how nervous she was in the beginning. This conversation took place before we went on a tour of the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum on Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) campus so we were very casual. There were a few quiet moments, and dramatic pauses for the sake of thinking. Take a look at what she had to say.
Ms. Quay: How do you define balance?
M. Roberts: Balance means being equal with whatever you have going on in life.
Ms. Quay: Do you feel balanced?
M. Roberts: Yes.
Ms. Quay: Do you work?
M. Roberts: Yes.
Ms. Quay: How many hours a week?
M. Roberts: 12
Ms. Quay: Are you doing any sports now?
M. Roberts: No ma’am, not now
Ms. Quay: Ok, do you feel balanced between being a teenager, a high school student, and working?
M. Roberts: Yes, but sometimes it’s kind of hard sometimes, it gets a little stressful sometimes. But I kind of balance myself out by either backing away from something or just taking the time to figure out what I need to do to regroup.
Ms. Quay: So whe n you say you back out of something is it like a temporary thing or do you comeback once you have it figured out?
M. Roberts: I mean I come back once I get it figured out. It’s definitely a temporary thing.
Ms. Quay: Ok. So with removing something, do you feel like you’re balancing it or do you feel like you’re just removing something temporarily?
M. Roberts: Removing it temporarily.
Ms. Quay: So like a temporary fix?
M. Roberts: Yea
Ms. Quay: So do we say this is balance?
**She gave me a nervous look because this conversation was recorded for the purpose of this transcript**
Ms. Quay: Don’t be nervous. It’s not about being right or wrong! This is our normal conversation like always, I’m just recording it.
M. Roberts: Ok! Let me think, let me think….
Ms. Quay: So since we know you remove things to reshape your focus, do we say this is balance?
M. Roberts: No. If I have to take it away, then it’s not balance.
Ms. Quay: Lets say work is taking up too much time, when you shorten your hours at work or something else over here to take it away, that’s not really balancing it. (rhetorical question)
M. Roberts: Right! I want to shorten my hours at work so that I have enough time to come home and get my work done.
Ms. Quay: Do you work every day?
M. Roberts: No, not every day just Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Ms. Quay: What advice would you give to teenagers who are working part time that have a hard time balancing?
M. Roberts: Being a teenager and going to school is overwhelming in itself, in adding a job- if that’s not something you absolutely need, then don’t do it.
That’s the end of that conversation. Our tour guide came outside to get us so we stopped with her words of wisdom. This conversation can be hours and a few extra pages long considering this is such a broad topic. We have so much more to discuss so stay tuned!
This experience has allowed our staff to gain insight on what really matters to teens. We are currently creating a teen workshop designed to educate them on balance and the importance of time management.