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When a teenager turns 16, what is the first thing he or she thinks about? Probably the first thing that comes to mind would be getting a driver’s license and then a job. After always having to rely on their parents, teenagers jump at the idea of getting a job and being independent. The money then gets spent on gas or car insurance so that they can drive anywhere they want. The teenagers’ time is spent on making money from their job while schoolwork gets abandoned. Grades slip, and some students choose to take easier and less prestigious classes.
When one turns 16, one also enters the time in high school in which it is crucial for one do well. At this time, colleges are carefully observing each student and their schoolwork. As a result, students should be persuaded to focus on their schoolwork, not be distracted by work. As appealing as minimum wage jobs are, if the student focuses on school and getting into a good college, he or she would prepare themselves for much more prestigious jobs in the future.
American education has recently been behind a number of European countries even though the price for education in America is much higher. Part of the reason for this is that in Europe, the primary role for a student is to study. A teenager does not have to live up to the expectation to get a job and make their own money. And in some European countries, the legal working age is 18 rather than 16.
Although students around this age strive to enjoy their life, they must not forget about their future. In order to achieve this, students must be encouraged to study, not to go out and get jobs. School should become a student’s first priority. If possible, the working age should be increased to 18 like the European countries. However, enjoyment should not be neglected either; it should simply be put off until after schoolwork is done. Students age 16 should still be allowed to drive and have fun; only their parents should continue to provide money for them as long as the students continue to work hard in school.
As soon as students realize that they can focus on school and still enjoy life, schoolwork will stop being as neglected. If parents were to provide money for their kids in the condition that they study, then the students would be as motivated to do schoolwork as they would be to get a job. If somehow this country could manage to change the whole system around and put precedence on schoolwork over getting a job, then the education system would be more successful and this country will develop to be a much better place.
Kunal Lobo is an Avon Grove High School student.