The busy lives of Blazers

Jan. 19, 2022, 10:23 p.m. | By Kathereen Yang | 2 years, 5 months ago

A look into how Blair students balance jobs, extracurriculars and school with other aspects of life after returning from online school

On Fridays, after a long week of tests and homework, junior Isatu Borbor doesn't go home to relax or to the mall with her friends. Instead, she goes to Pine Crest Elementary School and begins her work shift, which starts at 3 p.m. and doesn't end until 6 p.m. She works her three-hour shifts every day after school. 

Borbor started her job after the worst of the pandemic, at the beginning of this school year. At Pine Crest Elementary School, Borbor works for KidsCo, a child development program for kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. There, Borbor completes a variety of tasks, from tutoring kids on schoolwork to taking them outside for fun activities.

Borbor is among the almost 30 percent of high school students that currently have jobs over the school year. Before the pandemic, the percentage of working high schoolers had been generally decreasing since the 1980s, and by 2019, only 35 percent of high school students had jobs, compared to 60 percent in 1979. However, as a result of COVID-19 and the high unemployment rates of adults, numerous businesses and organizations have ended up hiring more teens than adults, and the percentage of teens with jobs is the highest it has been since 2008

Jamie Gray, the manager of Woodmoor Pastry Shop, located in Four Corners, has hired more high school students during the pandemic to help with the flow of customers. "Since the pandemic, I've hired more staff in the front to get people in and out quicker," Gray explains. 

So far Borbor has been able to successfully manage both her job and schoolwork most of the time. “I think it’s a manageable time for a full-time student… the only thing is that it is every day, so that is one of the cons,” Borbor says. 

Although she is not a Blair athlete, Borbor compares her work schedule to the time commitment needed for student athletes at Blair: Blair's sport practices begin around the same time Borbor's work shift begins, and both last for a few hours.

Borbor stresses that time management is extremely important for her to complete all of her schoolwork on time, since she is a full-time student working a job. This often means that Borbor can't relax directly after she comes home from a shift and gets started immediately on schoolwork. 

Despite the amount of time commitment required, Borbor feels that her job at Pine Crest is worth the time she spends there. In fact, she sought out her job in hopes of finding something more exciting to add to her life. “I feel like I needed [something] to keep me busy. I feel like it was just school and going home,” Borbor explains. 

Like Borbor, senior Jossica Filostin also began her job towards the beginning of the school year. Filostin began working at Five Below in October, where she stocks the shelves for four hours a day, two days a week. 

Filostin began working in order to fulfill a requirement for one of her classes. Filostin is taking an internship class, and in order to graduate and complete that class, she needs to work for 225 hours. For Filostin, she finds working four hours per day to be very manageable. In fact, Filostin wants to start working more days per week in order to meet the 225-hour requirement faster.

For Blair students looking for a job, Filostin emphasizes the importance of being proactive in applications and asking for interviews. Based on her personal experience of finding a job, Filostin finds that calling or going into the store and asking for an interview in person can be the most effective.

The lower unemployment rates for teens is not the only way COVID-19 has affected high school students. The pandemic has also significantly impacted how Blair students are able to manage their time. 

Junior Kai'lyn Mohammed does not have a job, but instead participates in and creates online content such as informative posts on Instagram and TikTok for many after-school activities, from Innovate-X, an organization working to promote financial literacy among high school students, to The Blair Robot Project. To manage her schedule with schoolwork, Mohammed tries to space out her work evenly throughout the week, but often has no leisure time as a result. 

For Mohammed, and many other Blair students, the pandemic negatively impacted how she balances school and extracurriculars with leisure time. During online school, Mohammed found that her productivity during the week was a lot lower than before. “What would end up happening is work would pile up and I’d have to make up for that during the weekend,” she says.

Unfortunately, this shift in Mohammed's ability to manage her work did not disappear after online school ended. “I feel like it was a permanent change,” Mohammed says, explaining how she has been struggling with balancing schoolwork with other aspects of life even after returning to in-person school.

Whether it's getting a job or a change in ability to manage time, the pandemic has undoubtedly affected Blazers' work lives, and how Blazers are able to balance their jobs, schoolwork, extracurriculars, and personal lives. 

When it comes to balancing school, work and extracurriculars, Borbor has found it helpful to limit her time on social media. For her, staying off social media has helped her avoid scrolling endlessly and has increased her productivity. “Just get off of social media… Right now I’m on a social media break, and I feel like when you take a break from social media, it helps a lot,” she says. 

Additionally, as she has been trying to work on balancing work and school life, Mohammed has found that doing as much work as possible during the week to minimize work on the weekends is the best way for her to balance everything. “Try your best to work productively during the week, [so] you can take the time you need to relax over the weekends… that’s a good balance I think,” Mohammed says.

When applying for jobs though, Blazers should keep in mind that while having a job in high school can provide valuable experiences, working more than 15 hours a week can negatively affect long-term educational outcomes

Since Blair students have just returned to in-person school this school year, many will likely be participating in new activities, whether it be a club or a job. For busy students, taking on new commitments, such as a job, requires thoughtful planning and time management. In addition, students may already be struggling to balance work and life as they return to in-person school. However, in the midst of dealing with jobs and schoolwork, it's important for busy students to remember to take a break every once in a while and to be kind to themselves about it.

Last updated: Jan. 23, 2022, 12:26 p.m.

Kathereen Yang. hi! My name is Kathereen and I'm a junior writer. I enjoy reading and running, and I'm currently trying to figure out how to make pizza (without burning it). More »

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