Every afternoon at 2:18, the bell rings and students rush to their cars. Some just want to rush away from the building they spent the majority of their day within, but others must scramble off to the second part of their day: work.
Most Leesville students are hired for their first jobs around the age of sixteen, or anytime between the end of their sophomore and junior years.
Conveniently (or inconveniently,) students’ responsibilities in all aspects of their lives increase around this time.
“Not to sound dramatic,” said an anonymous senior, “but I felt like the fun part of my life was over after sophomore year. I bought my a car, but didn’t think about the monthly insurance payment and ridiculous gas prices. Then I got a job but had to juggle working and sports and finishing AP summer assignments. I was freaking out about how I was going to manage all of this AND school.”
Alice Kimbell, junior, started working at Dairy Queen in July of 2010. “I usually only work one day during the week and one day during the weekend, but I used to work up to three days during the school week.”
Kimbell’s main concern is not going to work but missing out on the time she would usually spend doing homework.
“On the days I do work, getting my AP Chemistry homework done is hard. My boss isn’t the most flexible guy in the world, and I’m sometimes at work until 10:30 p.m. on school nights,” said Kimbell.
The questions amongst most working (or soon-to-be) working high school students is obvious: “When will I do my homework, and when will I hang out with my friends?”
“I sometimes delay doing my homework until Pride Period the next day because of work,” said Morgan Burke, senior. “I’ve had to cut out of my NHS Officers’ meetings and French Club meetings early because of work. And if we don’t have Pride Period for some reason, I’m usually screwed or stuck doing homework at lunch.”
Nina Thigpen was forced to quit her job at Bob Evan’s of Brier Creek a few weeks into her senior year.
”My boss stopped letting me do homework at work, and I didn’t want to stay up until three every morning. My shifts were five hours per night, and with three AP classes I have almost five hours of homework per night,” said Nina Thigpen, senior.
“I completely over-committed myself this year,” said Thigpen. “I was getting three hours of sleep at night then getting up at five for band.”
Forced to reconsider his job, school and extracurricular commitments, Nick Sparks, senior, changed jobs to better accommodate his schedule.
After working at Chick-Fil-A for almost two years,Sparks determined that he had to switch jobs.
“Working until eleven and not getting home until even later was ridiculous. Now I work from 3-6 p.m. every day and and let my bosses know the exact specifications I need for my schedule,” said Sparks.
The stress of work sometimes proves to be too much for students. Alex Lawrence and numerous other Leesville seniors recently quit their jobs at Autobell, a carwash near Brier Creek shopping center.
“My boss didn’t care about me, school, or anything I was involved in,” said Lawrence. “I decided that it’s better to be free and broke than be rich and have to work your life away.”
While interviewing Morgan Burke, she stressed that teenagers want to send a message to teachers and parents.
“It’s not like teenagers don’t want to work or don’t want the responsibility. We aren’t lazy. I have friends who work twenty hours per week, have three AP classes, and never ever sleep. Yet they’re still pushing themselves to do better. Teachers don’t understand that their class isn’t a student’s only class. Students don’t sleep in class because they’re unmotivated or lazy, it’s because some kids live in a state of exhaustion. Give us our weekends to have a life and get some sleep, not catch up on our reading of King Lear,” said Burke.