It’s Never Too Early to Start Working Hard


“You have the rest of your life to work, you should just have fun now.”


It’s likely that you have been told this sometime in your life, whether it was by a parent, professor, uncle, or whoever else is in your life. You were likely told this before entering college, or while still in high school. It is a very common phrase; I would guess that at least 75% of you reading this have been told this. And while the saying does have some merit, which I’ll cover later, there are a couple reasons that this common saying is bad advice.


  1. Encouraging students to not work while in school is also causing them to slack off in school. One-fifth of high school students are not gradating, while some still are taking longer than 4 years to graduate. For college students, this becomes much more drastic: nearly half of all undergraduate students drop out. Less than 10% of public universities have a graduate rate above 50%, and most students who do graduate take longer than 4 years.
  2. Only roughly a quarter of high school students work and the number of college students who work sometime while in school rises to 70%, however they are encouraged to work less than 15 hours a week. 71% of college graduates graduate with debt, with the average student racking up $37,172 in debt, which is up 6% from last year. Obviously if students worked harder while in school, both academically and at a job, they’d be able to get more scholarships and save more money to lower the debt they incur in school.


Now what about the reasons the saying holds merit? Firstly, it’s not a secret that while in high school and college you have the lowest amount of responsibility that you’ll have until retirement, so you should have a good time. Also, not committing time to a job does allow a student to give more time to studying for school, as long as not working at a job doesn’t translate to not working hard for school as well.


However, when student debt is at an all time high and rising every year, and 66% of high school graduates are going to college (although this is slightly down from the previous year, with the highest percentage of the decade being 70%) it’s clear that these prospective students need to learn how to work hard so they can get out of school in as little time as possible with the lowest amount of debt possible.


The trend continues past the ages of being a student; the percentage of Americans who are 16 years old or older who have a job or are looking for work is a measly 62.8%. This is the lowest that our workforce participation has been since 1978 and the number has been dropping for the last decade. Over a third of our citizens aren’t working, and whether or not telling our youth that they don’t need to work hard yet has caused it is up for debate, but it certainly doesn’t help.


This doesn’t need to be how it is though. It’s never too late to start working hard, and it doesn’t matter what you put your effort into. Whether you work hard to be the best student or to work to be the best employee at your local McDonald’s so you can be promoted to manager it doesn’t matter. There are so many different places to put your effort into; we just need to learn how to work hard. It’s also never too early to start working hard. Perhaps if we start pushing our young to work hard while in school it won’t carry on through their lives.


Working hard is a difficult skill to learn. A lot of people never truly learn it, God knows that I haven’t. It’s easier to not work hard, to put things off until the next day. However, it’s always important to remember that yesterday you said tomorrow.