(Photo: Fabi Keletakona)
by Raffaella Bravo, staff writer
Many Maria Carrillo students are having trouble managing their jobs and schoolwork. Handling two major and time-consuming responsibilities is challenging. This balancing act can lead to lower grades, less energy and motivation, and next to no free time, all of which can harm students’ mental health. Often, not working is not an option for many students, so they have to figure out how to juggle everything.
Sharron Keletakona, MCHS sophomore, works at Bula Pies Fiji on Fridays and Saturdays. She said that by working, she is “supporting her family’s business.” Keletakona works for eight and a half hours each day, which really is 30 minutes longer than a full-time job. She, like many other working students, finds it hard to keep up with her studies while working weekends. “It is difficult because sometimes I don’t have time to complete my school work because of my job… it just can be stressful sometimes.” Keletakona also explained that teachers don’t always understand her struggles making deadlines. She said once last year she turned in an essay one day late and automatically received only half credit. This lowered grade in her class.
Sophomore Mackenzie Larson worked at Dunkin Donuts in her freshman year from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and a seven-and-a-half-hour shift on Saturdays. Makenzie experienced less time to herself when she was working. “A lot of my days consisted of going to school, going to work, and then needing to do homework…so it’s a lot of trying to find small times for myself,” she said. Makenzie and a large number of other kids experienced the feeling of being stuck in the same pattern. Larson also believes that having time to herself is crucial, especially while dealing with the stresses of school and employment.
Claire Young, an MCHS graduate, also shared her story on her work life and how it affected her academic experience. In her senior year of high school, she worked three jobs. The most important was at Dunkin’ Donuts. She put in a total of 40 hours every week there. “I was there morning and night… I lived at Dunkin’. That is what everyone used to tell me.” She also said that she had to pick up shifts on occasion, which lengthened her working hours. “In a two-week paid period, I made up to 95 hours.” Her work caused her to miss a lot of classes. Young’s routine started with her opening the store at 5:30 a.m., and her shift would end at 2:00 p.m. She went on to explain that some of her teachers “weren’t huge fans” of her job and didn’t understand why she had to work for so many hours. “But for me, it was not just working, it was the ability to provide for myself…[when] I had to move out on my own.” Young had to come up with the money to support herself, and this was the main reason she had to work so much.
Young added, “Teachers should support the kids who want to work. They do not know what is going on at home.”