Work Hard, Study Hard: Students Reflect on Having Jobs

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There are many M-A students who work part-time during the school year, while also participating in sports or extracurricular activities. Some work a couple hours a week, while others go to their jobs every day. These students have varying motivations that range from earning extra personal spending money to supporting their families.

Senior Brandon Aguirre works at Sharon Heights Country Club, catering for events like buffets and banquets. He enjoys the work he does there and said, “It’s not that difficult, I think it’s a good job.” Brandon works five days a week: four hours during the weekdays and eight hours on the weekends, totaling 28 hours per week. This large time commitment affects many other aspects of his life. Aguirre noted, “It definitely gets in the way. If I have to study or something I’ll have to stay up late until like 2 a.m. I can’t really pick up a sport because I wouldn’t have time for practices or anything, so that’s out of the question.”His commitment to his job does not allow Aguirre to play sports, participate in extracurricular activities, or always get sufficient sleep while balancing schoolwork. But he still does it, because for him, it is not entirely a choice. His goal is to “save money for college and get ahead in life.” He has the bigger picture in mind, yet is not able to save all of his money. He also has to pay for his own haircuts, meals, and many things that most other students would not have to worry about. He said, “I pay for anytime I go out, so meals and stuff, basically essentials, and then anything on the side.” Though he is responsible for supplying himself with many essential needs, he also sometimes spends his money on new clothes, shoes, and phones.

Belter Menjivar, a senior at M-A, helps his uncle do landscaping and patio work for clients. He and his uncle lay tiles for patios and artificial turf. He explained, “Mi tío, él tiene mucho trabajo y IMG_2165trabaja menos ahora… Tiene más personas que trabajan con él, pero yo necesito dinero y trabajo. (My uncle has a lot of work, and he works less now… He has other people that work with him, but I need money so I work).

Menjivar only works on weekends because he has too much schoolwork during the week. He works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Menjivar explained, “Para mi no me afecta porque mi tarea las hago a veces viernes en la tarde o el domingo. (It doesn’t affect me because I do my homework sometimes on Friday in the afternoon or Sunday).” This system works for Menjivar, and he sometimes even has time to play sports like tennis or soccer. Menjivar does not particularly mind working, but for him it is not really a choice. He explained his reason for working: “Porque necesito dinero, y no me gusta pedir dinero de mi familia. Me gusta ganar mi propio dinero (Because I need money and I don’t like to ask my family for money. I like to make my own money).”

The money that Menjivar makes does not go towards buying luxuries. “Compro comida, todo lo que necesito yo para ir a escuela y yo no malgasto en cosas malas. (I buy food, anything I need for IMG_0387school, and I don’t waste it on bad things).” He buys his own meals sometimes because he does not like to ask his family for money, and because he likes to provide for himself.

Junior Nour Fezzani works at a math tutoring center, ‘Mathnasium.’ She works four hours per day, Monday through Thursday, tutoring kids. She plays volleyball, so she faces the difficulty of balancing sports, homework, and work. However, she explained, “I like helping kids and contributing to society.” Fezzani works for the money, but that is not her sole reason. “I want to enjoy the work I do,” she said. Fezzani finds it is satisfying to help kids learn valuable life skills, and working at Mathnasium has made her interested in working more with kids and doing volunteer work. She prefers tutoring kids over working with other adults, and working at Mathnasium has helped inspire her to pursue a career in which she is involved with teaching kids.

Senior Logan Maines works two to three days during the week for four to five hours per day. She works at ‘Kicks,’ a retail store in downtown MenloIMG_0395 Park. At the store she helps unpack, tag, and organize clothes. “I think it’s pretty fun,” she said. “The interaction with customers, it just gives you the feel of what real work feels like.” Maines runs varsity track at M-A, for which she has practice every day, and participates in meets during the weekends. The time commitment of her work often interferes with track. “It gets hard on weekends during track meets,” explained Maines. She has had to decrease her working hours to one hour per day during track season, and often needs to have someone cover for her on weekends.

Despite the great time commitment, she explained the reason she chose to work. She said, “I kind of wanted to have a job to save money for college … Once you start driving, you get to a certain age where you start paying for stuff on your own and your parents don’t give you money anymore.” Maines added, “It helped me learn that you don’t spend more money than you make.” She is glad she chose to work and said, “Even if it’s just a retail store I think [working] helps you socialize more and give you a more real-life experience.”

IMG_0392Hanna Roitman, a sophomore at M-A, works at Safeway bagging groceries for 16 hours per week. Roitman’s typical shifts are Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. While the only weekday she works is Friday, to avoid interference with her schoolwork, her job still consumes much of her time. Roitman explained, “I don’t need to work. I just do so that it gives me something to do and also just so I can make extra money for myself.” The money she makes is mostly to save for college. She said, “Weekly I just get a check that goes straight into my bank account. One fifth of it goes into what I can actually spend and the rest of it is in the savings.” Not only is the money important to her, but she also values the experiences she gains by working. “It’s definitely good character building,” she stated. Part of her job is to socialize with customers and be cheerful. This has helped her practice working with adults and gaining “learning how to deal with people.”

Some high school students at M-A take on not only the heavy school workload, and possibly a sport, but also a job. These students learn to balance both money and time, and some even work to support their families.

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