by Samantha Donat:
The four years a student spends in high school are the breeding grounds of change. Of course there are the typical social and emotional changes that students undergo, but an often overlooked change is a student’s evolution into an adult. One of the biggest aspects of adulthood is, unfortunately, working. With summer fast approaching, many high school students realize that they will soon no longer be able to spend their eight weeks of bliss lounging by the pool and frolicking through sprinklers—instead, they’ll soon need to be working just like the rest of the adult population.
For many students, the idea of being restricted to certain hours, reporting to a manager and no longer having that “teenage freedom” can be incredibly unappealing. However, a surprising number of students have bravely taken the first step forward into adulthood and have found themselves jobs, both during the school year and over the summer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 48.9 percent of youths ages 16 and above are employed over the summer.
For many of these students, having a job has been an extremely rewarding experience. Take, for instance, junior Tiffany Miller, who has been working at The Sweet Shop in Los Altos since January of 2011. Although Miller was at first hesitant to apply for a job, she later found that it was an incredibly smart decision to make. “After the first few weeks, I began to realize how much I enjoyed working. Even in just a few months, I’ve learned and grown so much,” she said. Since starting her job, Miller has become much more comfortable interacting with adults and her superiors, such as her manager, and she has especially learned how to properly manage her time. Working this summer will only bring her even more growth.
According to College and Career Center Information Specialist Leighton Lang, the advantages of having a summer jobs are numerous. “You gain work experience, the importance of working with people and build your résumé,” Lang wrote in an email. Of course, getting a paycheck on a monthly basis is a nice perk too.
That’s not to say, though, that getting a job is a walk in the park. Finding and applying for jobs definitely involves a substantial amount of effort on the student’s part, although it will eventually pay off—no pun intended. “You have to be persistent,” Miller said. “Whether it’s following up on your applications or constantly keeping an eye out for ‘hiring’ signs, you have to stick with it.”
[pullquote]”According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 48.9 percent of youths ages 16 and above are employed over the summer.”
Lang agrees that the job application process is not an easy one, especially during the summer when competition for jobs increases. Students, however, don’t realize that there are a plethora of resources for finding jobs on campus solely for their convenience. For example, in the guidance office there is an extremely helpful tool known as the job file. “The job file is one of the most useful resources we have on campus, but it’s also one of the most unknown,” Lang said. The job file is, quite simply, as it sounds: a large file in the back of the guidance office that contains myriad job applications, ranging from categories such as retail and food service to science and medical vocations. Another useful tool on campus is the “job board” in the guidance office, which features ads and flyers from businesses that are searching specifically for student workers.
The most important aspect of finding a job, though, is making sure that the student seriously enjoys the job area in which they will be working. Both Miller and Lang strongly advise against taking a job if the student isn’t sure whether he will genuinely enjoy his work. “You should work in a field you enjoy,” Lang wrote. “You don’t want to spend your summer working in a job you don’t like and that won’t help you in the future.” According to Miller, there’s nothing worse than having to work at a job that you don’t enjoy.
Although summer is fast approaching, there are still plenty of opportunities left out there for students looking for work. Finding a job that suits you and your interests won’t be easy, but once you do, you’ll be forever grateful that you took the first step.