Despite risks of pandemic, students take on summer jobs, learn valuable lessons
Although businesses and companies struggled over the summer due to new local and federal regulations, students still found themselves employed this summer at a variety of different workplaces.
Summer jobs are a way for high school and college age students to make some money and gain valuable experience in the workforce. These jobs can take many forms, and whether that be an internship or a service job, students had a variety of different ways to make themselves busy this summer despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic. According to a Sept. 26 poll of 249 upper school students, 26 percent had a job over the summer.
Sophomore JP Casey worked at Las Colinas Country Club in Texas despite the rising numbers of coronavirus cases reported in the area.
“I worked most days of the week from early June until August, picking up golf balls and making sure that there was enough of them throughout the course as well as doing any other kind of maintenance work that was asked of me,” Casey said. “I had to wear a mask throughout the workday, and the staff and golfers were good about social distancing. I think it was easier because it was mostly outside, and a golf course is pretty ideal for keeping distance.”
Working during a pandemic can pose health risks due to the high volume of people one comes into contact with, especially at a restaurant.
“I worked for the second time at a restaurant called Delphinas in North Carolina this summer,” senior Caleb Ainsworth said. “I mainly worked in the kitchen, making pizzas and other food, but I had a significant amount of exposure to the guests and other staff members.”
While Ainsworth was aware that the virus was a risk while at work, he believed the experience he got from his job was worth it if he was being conscious of safety guidelines. Of students who had a job over the summer, 75 percent felt safe despite the pandemic’s threat.
Ainsworth is not alone. Despite risks of getting infected, the experience of working and understanding what it is like to be a part of the workforce was a driving factor that pushed many students to find a job.
“I worked at Hobbytown USA this summer doing cashier work as well as other projects throughout the store like organizing inventory and learning how the company operates,” senior Ali Sparrow said. “I think that it was more difficult due to the pandemic, but the store still had a steady stream of customers, and I think it made it a little more interesting because not many people know what it is like to work through circumstances like that.”
Sparrow learned about customer service and how to deal with all types of customers, the importance of inventory management and other business basics that she believes will be useful in whatever career path she chooses in the future.
For some, such as senior Bella Collins, summer jobs were a needed break from an isolated and mainly digital world.
“I really wanted to get a job because I felt that it would be a good way to get more social interaction during the pandemic, and I think that it is really valuable to [develop my] work ethic at a young age,” Collins said. “I worked as a hostess at Company Cafe, and I got really great experience making relationships with coworkers and dealing with people face to face as they came into the store. I think that everyone should try to work at some point during high school because it gives you a new perspective, and it’s very educational.”