Students juggle school work…and jobs

Pretty Tasty Cupcakes in Conshohocken, where Jai Bonaparte ’24 works – via Google Maps

Many students find it hard enough to balance all their school activities, such as homework, clubs, and sports. However, some members of our community find the time to also work jobs on top of all of their school commitments. Many think that working a job in high school could hurt academic performance, but there are numerous benefits as well.

Fourth Former Aaron Bonaparte, a busser at Rosalie in Wayne, has a number of jobs other than just clearing tables. “I’m… collecting plates from tables once they’re finished and refilling stations and helping servers and runners whenever I can,” A. Bonaparte said. “Working has changed my perspective a lot just because I kind of realized the concept of being able to actually buy something versus being able to afford something. 

“My idea of bills right now is making sure my Spotify and my Hulu get in on time, but throughout my life those bills are probably gonna multiply. So, my Spotify will eventually become rent, which will eventually become a mortgage so it’s definitely put stuff into perspective for me,” Bonaparte said. 

Many would consider these to be important skills and knowledge for a sixteen year old. A steady income allows a teenager to learn to manage their money without the stakes that comes with adult life. Working also allows teenagers to learn about the kind of work that they’re interested in. 

Fifth Former Jai Bonaparte works at Pretty Tasty Cupcakes in Conshohocken. 

“[I do] cake decorating, making and scooping cookie dough, decorating cupcakes, you know, fun stuff,” J. Bonaparte said. 

Finding a job he liked, however, wasn’t easy. “I hated my other job, and the boss at the bakery is good friends with my mom. And… I can bake and one thing led to another,” J. Bonaparte said. 

Fourth Former Zach Dixon, who works at CJ Tires and Auto in Wayne, had similar insight. 

“I think that my perspective was always like yeah, people have to work for money [through] different jobs, but I feel like I got lucky in my job because I get to do what I want,” Dixon said.

He also said that he didn’t like his old job, and that working has broadened his perspective on workers in his daily life. 

“My old job, my lifeguarding job, I did not like that at all. So that was more of an experience that [opened my eyes] that there’s people that are working at McDonald’s,” Dixon said. “They don’t want to be there. That sucks. I feel bad for them. And it definitely taught me that people will do stuff for money and it’s pretty hard to get by.”

“I appreciate any dollar, any cent that I make because it’s just how many hours I put into it.”

Chase Nelson ’24

Fifth Former Chase Nelson’s perspective on the value of money also changed after working at Greek Village retirement home. 

“I appreciate any dollar, any cent that I make because it’s just how many hours I put into it. I used to work those eight-hour days. Most of the time I would barely get a break even with child labor laws,” Nelson said. “And just when I got that paycheck after the two weeks I looked at it I was like, I really really earned it, and I respect you for how much you make. Maybe less or more than I made, I still think that that’s a whole different level of appreciation.”

Working a job outside of school teaches students things they cannot learn anywhere else. Nelson also said that balancing school and work life was hard, especially during the school year. 

“[Working during the school year] became very hard because most of the time I would work from either end of school Friday, as well as all weekends,” Nelson said. “Sometimes if I wanted to pick up extra hours, I would work on days that we had school off, and by doing that I just felt so exhausted. I felt like I wasn’t putting enough into certain things. Or sometimes I would feel like I put too much into it. I wasn’t getting a good balance.” 

“Don’t let anything get in the way of what you’re trying to achieve.”

Nate Mirin ’23

However, some students are able to manage working during the year. Sixth Former Nate Mirin works as an intern for two charitable organizations, Tree-Plenish and Character Lab. 

“I just gotta plan out my time a little bit more. Not necessarily work any harder, just have a plan for it. Don’t let anything get in the way of what you’re trying to achieve,” Mirin said. “Otherwise, I make sure to make it work. Maybe I’ve been getting a little bit less sleep. But that’s a trade off I’m willing to make because they’re organizations I care about.”