Balancing jobs and school strains students


In the fourth grade, Tyler Blue, now a senior at Berkeley High School, got his first job, and he’s been working ever since. 

“With my family circumstances, I’ve been doing any and everything to make a quick dollar,” Blue said. 

“My job was (to sell) stuff on the street … (in eighth grade) I did roofing, cleaning houses, and then my first check job (was) working at a camp,” explained Blue. From there he worked at his uncle’s air conditioning business, a movie theater, and now Whole Foods. 

Balancing homework, social life, and more isn’t foreign to high schoolers. Having to go to work on top of all of that can be even more mentally exhausting and lead to less study time and overall stress.

Last year, as a junior, Blue worked at Regal and was considered a part-time employee. However, his schedule put him there seven days a week, with eight hour shifts, from after school to sometime between 1:30 to 2:30 in the morning. On top of that he had school work, and woke up each morning at six to go to school. 

“Having a job while having homework, it’s stressful,” Blue said. Fortunately, Blue said, “my teachers worked a lot with me they knew about my situation…so my homework load was less than most folks in my class.”

Ajmal Khan, a senior at BHS, works as often as he can, trying to balance schoolwork and his role playing on the BHS football team, but he can’t always  find time to work during the school week. “We have practices every day after school, …  usually, after practice ends I’m home by eight o’clock. [By the time] I’m done with everything, I get to schoolwork at 9:30 and I’m working like, late late.”

Esteban Juared, who graduated from BHS last year, and is now at Berkeley City College, had a job throughout high school. 

“When I first came [to BHS] I started working as a gardener with a friend of our family. I started working there and they paid 15 an hour at the beginning … it’s a great job,” said Juared. As a junior, he worked as a cook at a Thai restaurant, and as a senior, he got a job at Berkeley Bowl.

Having a job can be stressful, especially for students, but in Juared’s opinion, it can help you make you more independent, which is something that is important for a lot of high schoolers to develop as they reach adulthood.

“I took all those jobs because I wanted to be more independent for myself…I’ve always been (independent). I never asked my parents for money,”said Juared. “When you buy your own things, and you know you worked for it, and you know you put yourself on it, it makes you appreciate it more.”

For Blue, independence is an important thing to balance. “To the younger classmen… I encourage you to get a job, get a car, things like that. Do things that that’s gonna make you feel independent, but don’t let that stuff control you,” Blue advised. “You still want to live while you’re in high school.”