Making the decision to a job in high school can be a daunting task. Between parental sway, financial state, and school work, trying to choose the best pathway can be extremely intimidating to students. Students attending Great Crossing High School shared their personal experiences both in and out of the workplace.
Callie Stempa, a senior, is currently working at Georgetown Eyecare Center. She holds a co-op or cooperative education position which is required by her classes at ECS. Stempa has her hands full with many tasks both in and out of school and stated that “Juggling a job and school work, it can work, it definitely can work. But it’s hard to do. There’s extra hours that I’m missing from school that I could really benefit from if I was at school or doing my homework.”
Originally interested in eye care, Stempa came to a conclusion many other adults and students come to when looking at different careers after being employed, and realized that she needed to change her path. “I wanted to be able to have something that would help me decide what I wanted to go to college for, and my job has helped me in knowing what I want to go into. Now I know I don’t want to do anything related to eye care.” Stempa continued, “I think it’s a good thing for teenagers our age to get a job just because it helps us know how to handle situations in the workforce that would definitely come up.”
Unlike Stempa, junior Sheldon Throckmorton took on his position at Bojangles’ as an aid to his college fund. “My future plans include going to college and getting a job as a park ranger. My job at Bojangles doesn’t work into my future at all other than funding my college.” Throckmorton, like Stempa and many other students faced the task of managing two work loads, came to the realization that, “I would tell teenagers our age that they need to be prepared, because it isn’t easy having to manage your time and make sacrifices.”
Throckmorton continued by explaining his personal situation. Juggling a job and school work is very difficult for me because I am in two AP classes, and have a lot of homework. But I make it work.” Throckmorton concluded with his personal view on the subject, “I believe with a little bit of time management, anyone can juggle school and a job.”
Senior Hannah Cochran has always sought out different ways to make herself stand out to colleges. A team trainer at Bojangles’, Cochran has worked herself up in the ladder into a strong leadership position. “I absolutely love my job. My coworkers are phenomenal, my managers are some of my best friends, and I get free food.” Although Cochran does enjoy her job, her views on the benefits of student jobs are unique. “I don’t necessarily know if beneficial is the right word, because I don’t know if it’s ‘beneficial’ to one’s spirit to ever have a job, especially a physically demanding one. And eight hours on your feet is physically demanding, but very low on the list [of workforce considerations].”
In circumstances similar to Throckmorton, Cochran is using her part time position to pay for a portion of college. “My reasoning for getting a job is that I know my parents can’t help much with college. I’ve discussed with management and they’ve agreed to let me work full time as a manager during the summers as I attend college”.
Another reason why students often look to the job field is because they have to provide for themselves. Senior Kaylee Cooper is a part-time employee at Bojangles’ and explained her personal situation. “ My reason for getting a job was primarily needing money. My family has always struggled with money, so my mom wasn’t able to buy my clothes or school supplies and my dad stopped paying child support. So, I wanted to have enough money to support myself, and finally afford stuff that I didn’t necessarily need, but things that I’d always wanted.”
Being employed as a teenager can create an environment which can help foster some students in a variety of ways. “I feel like being employed at our age is beneficial for many reasons. It gives teenagers early experiences with work environments, and helps them understand what they want to do with the rest of their life,” Cooper elaborated. “It also gives them responsibility and, for a lot of teens, gives them the chance to have money they’ve never had in their life.”
Cooper has advice for those that are considering a part-time job. “I’d tell teenagers who are thinking about getting a job that it’s not easy at first, you have to put in work if you want to have a steady, rewarding job. But it’s worth it to have the experiences that come with it,” she said.
For teenagers who are not as interested in finding a job, there can be a multitude of reasons for that as well. From extra time to spend on school and college work, to extracurriculars and time for relationships. Senior Natasha Jaddock explained, “I love it, not being unemployed it gives me more time to work on college applications and to prepare.” Jaddock explained that although she currently is unemployed she does still believe teen jobs can be beneficial. “It really depends on the situation, but I really think a job is great. You’ll have your own money which gives you the opportunity to manage it like you will have to when you live by yourself.”