Job juggling

Balancing schoolwork and extracurriculars can be extremely difficult at times. Vanessa Stewart ’22 and Kaisa Whittaker ’21 take it a step further by maintaining a part-time job.

Kaisa+Whittaker+21+poses+in+her+work+uniform.

Maddy Smith

Kaisa Whittaker ’21 poses in her work uniform.

Time management is a vital skill for all students. Balancing school, social life and extracurricular activities is a learning curve many students have to face. For some students, however, there is an added level of having a job. 

Kaisa Whittaker ’21 is a student-athlete and works part time in a long-term care facility. In addition to practice and school, she also works on the weekends.

“On a normal Saturday, I get up around 7:30 and then go to track practice for a couple of hours,” she said. “I go home, I take a shower, I do some homework and then I relax for a couple of hours until it’s time for work, which is around 4 o’clock. I work until about 8 o’clock and then I go home and do some more homework.” 

Vanessa Stewart ‘22 works at a fast-food restaurant to take responsibility for her finances. While managing school and work, she also takes part in roller derby.

Vanessa Stewart ’22 is employed at Chick-fil-A.

I play roller derby, and mainly because of the pandemic we haven’t been practicing a whole lot and we haven’t had any tournaments or games since being back. Once we start competing again things might change with my work schedule,” she said.

Whittaker says time management is crucial to her success both academically and athletically. 

“You need good time management skills,” she said. “Otherwise, I would not recommend getting a job. You need to know everything that you need to get done and then prioritize doing it.”

Stewart’s co-workers mainly consist of college and high school students. She recognizes both she and her colleagues struggle to maintain time management skills. 

Finding a good balance between work and school can be difficult,” she said. “Sometimes [my coworkers] feel kind of overwhelmed with the work schedule and school, sometimes they try to find covers for their shifts to try and get some more school work done as well.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including how students manage their time. Students in online school find themselves faced with hours of asynchronous time for catching up on schoolwork and even getting in some extra hours at work.

You need good time management skills. Otherwise,  I would not recommend getting a job. You need to know everything that you need to get done and then prioritize doing it.”

— Kaisa Whittaker '21

Stewart often spends part of her asynchronous time on the clock. 

I work in the morning before afternoon online classes, then also work when I’m done with classes. Right now I’m working mostly night shifts to try and balance more with school.” Stewart said.

Though it is rare to be able to do homework while at work, Stewart has found a way to take breaks. 

“Doing schoolwork while actually on the clock and working isn’t really a thing at my work,” she said. “There have been days where I have worked split shifts and I’ll be off from around three to five and do school work in those two hours.”

Since Whittaker is a server in a long-term care facility, she qualifies as an essential worker. Whittaker and her coworkers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and things are starting to go back to normal. 

“We did switch to bringing the residents their meals directly to their rooms,” she said.  “Now that we’re all vaccinated, we switched back to serving in the dining room.”

As pandemic restrictions begin to lessen and people become more accustomed to safety precautions, there is an abundance of jobs available for high schoolers looking for their first job. Stewart recommends students get a job if they can.

I feel like getting a job is a really good way to start preparing for your future. You can start building savings and understanding more how money works and how an actual job works,” she said. “You can get more experience and connections when you start getting a job. You just have to be able to find a good balance between work and school when you’re in high school and college.”