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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

Students Work for Success

Keyshawn Muse, FCHS graduate, and McKinleigh Williams, senior, work at McDonald's in Rocky Mount. (Courtesy Photo)

By Caroline Horne--Eagle Staff Assistant Editor

Students are taking the balancing act of teenage life to a whole new level-- they’re adding a job into the mix of school, sports, family time, and social life.

“I balance work and school by working the opening shift everyday, which is 4:30 a.m.-9 a.m. or 7 a.m., depending on what day of the week it is,” says Audrey Sarbin, a senior who works about 20 hours per week at a local gym.

Those polled by the Eagle staff are on the clock anywhere from 10 to 30 hours per week, while staying in good academic standing.

“Depending on the job, it (working) helps to create better communication and balancing skills and overall helps you become a more well-rounded person. But, oftentimes, I get home from work at 9:30 p.m. and start on my homework, which typically keeps me up until 1-4 a.m.,” says senior Keely Barkovich, who works in a local restaurant.

Obviously, some student-employees are making sacrifices in specific areas of their lives to fulfill others.

“Having a part-time job in high school is something I knew I’d always have to do. Gas and car insurance need to be paid for, and it’s my responsibility to do it,” says Kobe Levisy, a junior who works in fast food.

But how do students strike a balance between their greatest priorities at this stage in life--school and work--and at what cost?

Many students, Sarbin specifically, report that they struggle with fatigue, being overwhelmed, and lots of stress, both mentally and physically.

“I might get off at 11:30 and have school at 8 the next day,” says junior, Isaiah Hughes, who also works in fast food. “You learn to find time to get it (school) done.”

Levisy laments on how it can all be overwhelming.

"Just when you think you’ve done enough and can rest, more stuff, work or school related, is thrown at you and the cycle starts all over again. There is so much that people don’t understand about working as a student, but the biggest thing is that nobody has sympathy for us," says Levisy.

Isaiah Hughes, junior, and Jesus Rojas, senior, pose for a shot in the kitchen at McDonald's. (Courtesy Photo)

While Hughes works a job, and has for several years, he doesn't think working in high school is all it's cracked up to be.

"You’re only a kid once, and you’ve got the rest of your life to work," he says.

However, students often rely on these jobs to pay for essentials. Because they live in a rural area without public transportation and reliable internet, many students rely on their income to pay for essentials, like gas, car insurance, and phone service.

So, the hustle continues. No matter how employers feel about school, or how teachers feel about work, these students-turned-essential-workers have to keep up.

"In the midst of the chaos of today’s world, we’re just trying to stay sane. Nothing is 'normal' about the world we live in, and it isn’t going to get back to ‘normal’ anytime soon, so we all just need to be there for one another and show as much love as possible,” Levisy says.

* The Eagle would like to include a special thank you to all student workers who took time out of their busy schedule to interview for this piece. Your hard work does not go unappreciated, and we love to recognize you:

Keely Barkovich, senior

Dominic Bowles, senior

Kenna Grimes, senior

Isaiah Hughes, junior

Kobe Levisy, junior

Brianna Moore, junior

Audrey Sarbin, senior

Michael Shanahan, senior

Nora Quarles, junior

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