Jobs bring new perspective to high school


Illustration by Kayla Kozak

Students may find themselves struggling to balance their job, social life, and academics. However, the stressful situations that come along with having a job in high school are outweighed by the benefits.

Paige Alban, Co-Editor in Chief

I​ ​spoke​ ​to​ ​a​ ​fellow​ ​classmate​ ​who​ ​told​ ​me​ ​he​ ​had​ ​recently​ ​quit​ ​his​ ​job.​ ​He​ ​started​ ​working​ ​to have​ ​a​ ​steady​ ​income​ for ​supporting​ ​his​ ​weekend​ ​activities. When​ ​I​ ​questioned​ ​him​ ​as​ ​to​ ​why he quit,​ ​his answer​ ​was​ ​simply,​ ​“I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​have​ ​time​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​my​ ​senior​ ​year.”

This​ ​response​ ​again​ ​led​ ​me​ ​to​ ​question​ ​the​ ​value​ ​of​ ​maintaining​ ​a​ ​job​ ​in​ ​high​ ​school.​ Throughout​ ​my​ ​high​ ​school​ ​career,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​always​ ​loaded​ ​my​ ​schedule​ ​with​ ​extracurricular activities.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​a​ ​member​ ​of​ ​multiple​ ​clubs,​ ​ran​ ​cross​ ​country​ ​and​ ​track,​ ​and​ ​practiced​ ​ballet.

Junior​ ​year,​ ​I​ ​got​ ​a​ ​job​ ​at​ ​a​ ​local​ ​coffee​ ​shop​ ​as well,​ ​and​ ​suddenly​ ​many​ ​of​ ​my​ ​other​ ​activities​ ​had to​ ​be​ ​cut,​ ​leaving​ ​me​ ​to​ ​wonder​ ​if​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​of​ ​the​ ​job​ ​were​ ​worth​ ​the​ ​time​ ​commitment.​

​More than​ ​a​ ​year​ ​later,​ ​I​ ​can​ ​affirm​ ​that​ ​having​ ​a​ ​job​ ​has​ ​truly​ ​enhanced​ ​my​ ​high​ ​school​ ​experience​ ​in ways​ ​that​ ​clubs​ ​and​ ​sports​ ​could​ ​not.

I​ ​first​ ​applied​ ​for​ ​my​ ​job​ ​because​ ​my​ ​mom​ ​loved​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​me​ ​working​ ​in​ ​a​ ​coffee​ ​shop.​ ​She believed​ ​the​ ​atmosphere​ ​would​ ​suit​ ​my​ ​talkative​ ​personality,​ ​and​ ​after​ ​working​ ​there​ ​for​ ​more than​ ​a​ ​year,​ ​I​​ ​know​ ​that​ ​I​ ​fit​ ​in​ ​well.​ ​Though​ ​it took​ ​some​ ​time​ ​to​ ​adjust​ ​to​ ​a​ ​workplace​ ​environment​ ​and​ ​the​ ​demands​ ​that​ ​come​ ​along​ ​with​ ​it, I have come to love my job.

During​ ​my​ ​first​ ​few​ ​months​ ​working,​ ​I​ ​still​ ​participated​ ​in​ ​all​ of my​ ​extracurriculars.​ ​However, over​ ​time,​ ​I​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​cut​ ​a​ ​few​ ​out​ ​of​ ​my​ ​schedule​ ​because​ ​I​ ​did​ ​not​ ​have​ ​time​ ​to​ ​dedicate myself​ ​to​ ​both​ ​of​ ​them​ ​and​ ​my​ ​job​ ​anymore.​ ​At​ ​that​ ​point,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​working five​ ​days​ ​a week,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​being​ ​trained​ ​at​ ​a​ ​rapid​ ​speed.

Working​ ​at​ ​a​ ​coffee​ ​shop,​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​job,​ ​demands​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​from​ ​you.​ ​The​ ​multiple​ ​challenges​ ​you have​ ​to​ ​face​ ​working​ ​in​ ​a​ ​coffee​ ​shop​ ​range​ ​from​ ​waking​ ​up​ ​at​ ​5:30​ ​a.m.​ ​on​ ​the​ ​weekends​ ​to​ ​go to​ ​work​ ​to​ ​learning​ ​all​ ​the​ ​recipes​ ​for​ ​the​ ​drinks​ ​and​ ​food.​ ​Customers​ ​don’t​ ​always​ ​realize​ ​the effort​ ​that​ ​goes​ ​into​ ​preparing​ ​a​ ​simple​ ​cup​ ​of​ ​coffee.

Not​ ​only​ ​is​ ​a​ ​job​ ​time-consuming,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​is​ ​also​ ​mind-consuming,​ ​no​ ​doubt.​ ​When​ ​I​ ​am​ ​working, I​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​careful​ ​and​ ​pay​ ​close​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​what​ ​I​ ​am​ ​doing.​ ​Even​ ​simple​ ​things​ ​like​ ​pouring a​ ​boiling​ ​cup​ ​of​ ​tea​ ​or​ ​counting​ ​the​ ​money require caution and attention to detail.​ ​

All​ ​these​ ​demands,​ ​however,​ ​create​ ​a​ ​great​ ​sense​ ​of discipline​ ​in​ ​my​ ​life.​ ​I’ve​ ​learned​ ​firsthand​ ​that​ ​waking​ ​up​ ​at​ ​five​ ​on​ ​a​ ​Saturday​ ​morning,​ ​even the​ ​morning​ ​after​ ​a​ ​school​ ​dance,​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​willpower.​

Despite​ ​the​ ​challenges​ ​that​ ​balancing​ ​a​ ​part-time​ ​job​ ​with​ ​schoolwork​ ​presents, the​ ​benefits​ ​from​ ​it​ ​outweigh​ ​any​ ​negatives.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​created​ ​strong​ ​friendships​ ​with​ ​my​ ​coworkers who​ ​are​ ​older​ ​than​ ​I​ ​am,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​often​ ​give​ ​me​ ​advice​ ​on​ ​any​ ​hard​ ​situations​ ​in​ ​my​ ​daily​ ​life.

Over​ ​the​ ​span​ ​of​ ​a​ ​year,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​created​ ​strong​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​not​ ​only​ ​my​ ​coworkers​ ​but​ ​my bosses.​ ​​ ​My​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​them has​ ​blossomed​ ​into​ ​a​ ​mentorship​ ​of​ ​sorts.​ ​

The​ ​amount of​ ​time​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​learning​ ​how​ ​to​ ​run​ ​a​ ​business​ ​has​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​how​ ​hard​ ​business management​ ​can​ ​be.​ ​The​ ​endless​ ​hours​ ​I​ spend ​cleaning​ ​the​ ​coffee​ ​pots​ ​or ​handling​ ​the money​ ​-​ ​all​ ​monotonous,​ ​but​ ​necessary​ ​tasks​ ​-​ ​taught​ ​me​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​dedication​ ​in​ ​order for​ ​a​ ​business​ ​to​ ​run​ ​successfully.

I​ ​just recently​ ​started​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on​ ​weekends,​ ​only​ ​so​ ​that​ ​I​ ​have​ ​time​ ​during​ ​the​ ​week​ ​to​ ​complete​ ​my school​ ​work​ ​and​ ​catch​ ​up​ ​on​ ​lost​ ​sleep. While​ ​many​ ​people,​ ​like​ ​my​ ​classmate,​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​having​ ​a​ ​job​ ​would​ ​keep​ ​me​ ​from​ ​enjoying high​ ​school,​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​it​ ​instead​ ​has​ ​made​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​a​ ​whirlwind​ ​of​ ​excitement and possibility.​

​The customers​ ​I​ ​have​ ​met​ ​and​ ​the​ ​stories​ ​I​ ​have​ ​heard​ ​outweigh​ ​the​ ​stress​ ​and​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​sleep​ ​that​ ​come with​ ​the​ ​busy​ ​schedule. The real-world, human experience I gain from interacting with people of all ages is priceless.​ ​Nowhere​ ​else​ ​could​ ​I​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​a​ ​woman’s​ ​weight​ ​loss​ ​journey​ ​from eating​ ​only​ ​cookies​ ​or​ ​the​ ​crazy​ ​stories​ ​from​ ​the​ ​man​ ​who​ ​gets​ ​a​ ​large​ ​iced​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​works​ ​in the​ ​emergency​ ​room.

In​ ​conclusion,​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​having​ ​a​ ​job​ ​in​ ​high​ ​school,​ ​while​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​student’s schedule,​ ​is​ ​a formative experience ​and​ ​builds a useful foundation of knowledge.​ ​With​ ​the​ ​proper​ ​mindset,​ ​it​ ​not​ ​only​ ​provides​ ​a​ ​paycheck, but​ ​also​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​way​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​high​ ​school​ ​and​ ​a​ ​taste​ ​of​ ​the​ ​larger​ ​world​ ​all​ ​at​ ​once.

Paige Alban is the Co-Editor in Chief of The Patriot and