By: Wayland Fong
When I was a kid, I thought I could do anything my heart desired. But there came a time when that enthusiasm waned, and I became just another high school student with a jaded view on the world. After getting a job, however, I was able to find a new perspective. A new reality sunk in, where I could see endless possiblities for the future, all because I exposed myself to a different environment that was filled with motivated and professional people.
At the end of sophomore year I decided that, for better or for worse, I needed to find a job. I needed to escape the gloom of my adolescence and invest my time in something worthwhile. Through a series of fortunate events, I found myself interning for State Senator Joe Simitian.
However, the glory of having a job quickly faded as I faced the reality of how menial the job actually was. I soon found that, as depressing as high school can be at times, work was equally as bad. The difference was that at work, my only friends were Excel documents and fax machines. Day in and day out, I adapted a cycle of filing, phone calls and more filing.
The whole time working at the office, my only motivation was the belief that somehow, my work was appreciated and the little things I did contributed to a higher cause. As boring as some tasks were, I gradually learned to appreciate the job in its entirety. I started to realize the professional skills and the political experience I would gain from this opportunity. I appreciated the role government has in society and even the rare moments when I spoke with other staff members. Being in a professional environment gave me the privilege of proving my worth each and every day I worked at that office. I truly enjoyed being in the presence of such wonderful people, discussing politics, family life and even the latest episode of “Breaking Bad.”
After my internship came to an end, I looked back on the first day I met Senator Simitian. All he said to me was “Hi, I’m Joe. Thank you for your help here at the office,” but I knew from then on that the time I spent at the office was worth it. I may have suffered through tedious tasks every day, but my internship gave me a new outlook on life. I realized that society cannot function without the working class citizens. Every man is making an impact one way or another. The challenge lies in finding how to personally impact society tomorrow. Everyone is given an opportunity to make their mark in history; finding a job may be the first step. Besides the experience you gain from being in the professional environment, you also learn a lot about yourself. You learn about your strengths and weaknesses, areas you would like to improve on and accepting who you are early on in life. In high school, we often live in the day-to-day events that impact us. But when you are working, you see life in a whole new light. You are no longer confined to the experience from high school, but life experiences you will need in the future.
If you are ever contemplating if having a job is a worthwhile experience, I would encourage you to apply for a job if you have the right motivation at heart. Sure, you can boast about having a job and not being dependent on your parents for pocket money, but what will benefit you in the long run is the experience you gain from it. At the same time, you should know your limitations as a high school student and go in with a positive mindset. Prove to the staff that you deserve to be there and prove to the world that you are ready.