In fourth grade Tyler Blue, now a senior at Berkeley High School, got his first job and has been working ever since.
“With my family situation, I did anything and everything to make a quick buck,” Blue said.
“My job was (selling) stuff on the street… (in eighth grade) I was doing roofing, cleaning houses, and then my first checking job (was) working in a camp,” Blue explained. From there he worked in his uncle’s air conditioning company, in a movie theater and now at Whole Foods.
Balancing homework, social life, and more is no stranger to high schoolers. Having to go to work on top of all this can be even more mentally draining and lead to less study time and overall stress.
Last year, as a junior, Blue worked at Regal and was considered a part-time employee. However, his schedule put him there seven days a week, working eight-hour shifts, from after school until between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. On top of that, he had school homework and got up every morning at six o’clock to go to school.
“Having a job while having homework is stressful,” Blue said. Luckily, Blue said, “my teachers worked with me a lot, they knew my situation…so my homework load was lower than most people in my class.”
Ajmal Khan, a senior at BHS, works as often as he can, trying to balance schoolwork and his role in the BHS football team, but he can’t always find time to work during the school week. “We have practice every day after school…usually after practice is over, I’m home by eight o’clock. [By the time] I’m done with everything, I arrive at school at 9:30 am and I work late late.
Esteban Juared, who graduated from BHS last year and is now at Berkeley City College, held a job throughout high school.
“When I first came [to BHS] I started working as a gardener with a friend of our family. I started working there and they were paying 15 hours an hour at the start…it’s a great job,” Juared said. As a junior he worked as a cook in a Thai restaurant and as a senior he got a job at the Berkeley Bowl.
Having a job can be stressful, especially for college students, but in Juared’s opinion, it can help you become more independent, which is important for many high school students to develop as they reach adulthood.
“I took all these jobs because I wanted to be more independent for myself…I’ve always been (independent). I never asked my parents for money,” Juared said. “When you buy your own stuff, and you know you’ve worked for it, and you know you’re getting into it, that makes you appreciate it more.”
For Blue, independence is an important thing to balance. “To young students… I encourage you to get a job, buy a car, things like that. Do things that will make you feel independent, but don’t let those things control you,” Blue advised. “You still want to live while you’re in high school.”