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Woodside Students Earn Their Paychecks

Should students get a job while still in high school?

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Corner Yogurt employs many high school and college students to help run the local favorite frozen yogurt shop.

As Woodside seniors enter their last semester of high school, they are taking steps towards more independence in preparation for their adult lives; for many, this means making the decision to hold down a job.

“I wanted to have a little bit more autonomy in my spending habits,” Woodside Senior Erik Westermark said, describing his decision to get a job at the local Corner Yogurt. “I didn’t wanna have to rely on asking my dad for money whenever I wanted to do things with friends…I figured it was time to take a little bit more responsibility for my own activities.”

With the soaring cost of college and adult expenses looming over them, some students have no choice but to tackle the payments head-on.

“I wanted to save money for school and have money to pay off my car I just got,” Natalia Younan, another Woodside senior, said. She works as a bagger at Robert’s, a small local grocery chain.

“I just have a lot of payments coming up…my phone bill, my car insurance,” Younan said. “I thought getting a job and saving money would be really helpful and necessary.”

While most students still rely on their parents to handle those kinds of monetary obligations, Younan has taken on that responsibility herself.

“[My parents] want me to help out with that kind of stuff,” she said. “I don’t mind doing it because it’s my car and everything; it’s what I’m using.”

Caught in between adolescence and adulthood, working students often find themselves juggling their grown-up responsibilities and teenage lives.

“It does get a little bit stressful at times and it gets hard to balance everything,” Westermark said. “It definitely takes away a large chunk of time.”

Adding extracurriculars and sports into the mix can clash even more with student work lives.

“Considering it’s wrestling season I can only really work one shift,” Westermark, who holds an additional job and takes three AP classes, said. “When it’s not wrestling season I generally have three shifts a week.”

On the other hand, students that don’t do sports have a much easier time balancing their work lives. Both Younan and Elizabeth Ponce, who work 16 and 30 hours a week respectively, don’t have to struggle as much with the combination of work, school, and activities.

“I had a lot of free time because I don’t do sports,” Ponce said. She is a Woodside senior and works at the Palo Alto cupcake shop Sprinkles.

Like Ponce, Younan had the advantage of an empty agenda after school.

“I still have time to do homework and everything,” Younan remarked. “The person who makes the schedule was really considerate of the fact that I have school.”

Although they are still in high school for seven hours a day, holding down a job has taught the students valuable skills they need in order to transition into the adult world. Along with the obvious lessons in money management, Westermark and Younan said they learned how to communicate with their fellow employees and customers.

“One of the main things I took away from [working] is dealing with people, and having to grit my teeth and bear it when people are being awful,” Westermark described about his Corner Yogurt job. “Yo

u tend to have a lot of awful people who think that they are entitled to a lot of things, won’t even look at you in the eye or talk to you like a regular person. You’re behind the register, so they just treat you however and you just sort of deal with it.”

Even though there are some rotten apples, there can be more rewarding aspects from working in customer service and being the one behind the counter.  

“Then again, you also learn to appreciate the people that are genuine and kind…like I have a lot of regular customers that I know their names and they know me,” Westermark said.

Younan has also enjoyed the time she spends working.

“I honestly really like having a job, it’s fun for me,” Younan said. “I know a lot more people now.”

Whether Woodside students need to save up for their future or just want some extra cash, they should take into account what their priorities are and the advantages and disadvantages of spending their free time earning a paycheck.

“If you already have

a pretty busy life, then getting a job would be more difficult for you,” Younan considered.

Despite the extra time and energy needed, getting a job while still in high school could put you a few steps ahead of your peers once you enter the workforce.

“If it hurts you more than it helps you, then don’t do it,” Westermark concluded. “It’s a hard thing to balance, but I would recommend doing it.”

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