I understand wanting to experience high school and college as they are with friends and without the pressures of working; however, all of adulthood requires balancing different aspects of our lives and learning to balance school and work as a youth is a major stepping stone in being prepared for that.

Therefore, even if your parents or other relatives have the wealth to pay for everything you may need, and kindly offer to do so, you should still have a job — if not for the money, then certainly for the skills and life lessons.

Personally, with the exception of the last nine months, I've had a job since I was 15. It wasn't absolutely necessary for me to have one — my family didn't need the money or anything like that — and my parents didn't pressure me to get a job so young, but the opportunity arose and I took it, and my parents supported my decision because they already knew the life lessons that would come with it.

In addition to the countless skills you develop just through working itself, balancing work and education provides you with so much more. You can learn time management, prioritization, making commitments and sticking to them, and countless other lessons that are hard to learn if you don't get personal experience with them.

I know a lot of high school students are incredibly involved in their school and community — participating in organizations, sports, volunteer opportunities, and more — so I understand not wanting to add a job to your plate on top of all that. I stretched myself pretty thin my senior year of high school. I went to school full time (taking multiple AP classes), participated in a school activity, and worked two part-time jobs, all the while trying to find time to get my homework done and spend time with friends and family. I was stressed out for most of my senior year, and so were a lot of my peers who were also balancing work and school, but it was worth it because I know I came away from my senior year more prepared for my future.

Due to my schedule, I learned how to manage my time, how to prioritize, how to ask for help, and I discovered my limits. I now understand how far I can push myself and how much I can take on before it becomes too much, or before I need to ask for assistance, and high school was the perfect time for me to figure that out. Both of my employers my senior year understood that I was also a student, and my teachers knew about my schedule and worked around it with me. I imagine when I start working again next year, my sophomore year of college, it will be more or less the same — professors and employers who are willing to work with me as long as I can prove I'm putting in the effort. That's not a guarantee after college, though.

Which is why I'm emphasizing getting a job while you're in school, whether it be high school or college. Once you've graduated, been hired, and are working full time, your employer expects you to know how to manage your time and they expect work to be a priority. Some professors may expect this of you in their classes, especially when you get close to graduating, but it's far more likely once you've completed your schooling.

It's better to learn things when you're young, so you have the time and energy to experience and understand them. It's also better to learn new things when you're in an environment where there's more flexibility to make mistakes and the stakes are just a little bit lower. This isn't to say that you shouldn't take your part-time job seriously, because you absolutely should take it seriously, but — generally speaking — people find it more acceptable for a 16 or 19-year-old to make mistakes than someone who's 26 or 30. The more life experience you have, the more that's expected of you.

If you decide to experience college and high school for what they are without the addition of a job, then it's likely you'll be overwhelmed when you graduate and get a full-time job. Your employer will certainly expect you to be able to manage your time, and it's possible you don't know how to.

Every individual is different and therefore their needs are different, and it's true that we shouldn't have to grow up too quickly, but we will have to grow up eventually, and it'll be easier to make the transition if we get a little bit of practice now.