Money is what makes the world go around. As much as people today would not like to recognize this, it is true. It is especially true with my generation. Being a teenager these days is very time-consuming, as well as expensive.

With many teenagers working at low-paying jobs or not employed, money is a big factor in how one survives the teenage years. A lot of teenagers really have no steady source of income.Baby sitting sporadically or working at a temporary job doesn't seem to meet the needs that society dictates. As much as they would like to avoid money worries, some activities and items become a necessity for the average teenager.

When the weekend rolls around, a movie or a night out can add up quickly. Money limitations can be frustrating and cramp your social life.

Being involved constantly in school, church and extracurricular activities is what makes life exciting. Having lots to do and being busy makes life fun and interesting. However, being on the go all the time makes it impossible to juggle school work, after-school activities and . . . a job.

How can students today be expected to maintain grades, be involved in their school and church and have the money they need all at the same time? The answer to this question involves many elements. It takes setting priorities, a lot of willpower, parents who are understanding, and the key word: time.

I have had the humbling experience of asking, sometimes begging, for five bucks from my parents to go to lunch with my friends or rent a movie at someone's house. I hate asking for the money, but it seems impossible for a teenager who has no time for a job to create a flow of money for clothes, entertainment, etc.

When teenagers do have a source of income, it is sometimes hard to listen to the reasonable voice of parents advising the benefits of a savings account. College looms in the future for most high school students, and the reality of the situation is that most families can't afford the exhorbitant tuition rates that many out-of-state schools require. This means that in many families teenagers are responsible for providing at least some of the money.

This idea is fine in principle, but in reality it is impossible for many teenagers. Even as much as I care about my future, where I want to go to college, and how much things cost today, it is hard for me to look at a pair of new jeans in the mall and then turn around and put money in the bank for long-term goals.

Sometimes I think it would be nice if society would revert back to generic jeans, non-brand name shoes, and true dollar movies. Then the issue of expenses would not press so hard on today's youths.

I don't like to complain, but sometimes it's hard to get along without a regular job.

All the expectations that are piled on high school students, such as being "well-rounded," getting good grades, being involved In sports, community service, and social activities, add up to large blocks of time. If a teenager gets a job, something must be compromised. Each student must balance the issues of responsibility and independence before entering the work force to earn money.