On the Clock: Full-time students learn on the job after school ends


For most teens, the end of the day does not end when school is over. According to the April student survey, 59% of students currently have an after-school job or internship. From working in the service industry to working in retail, many girls spend their time after school at work. 

The highest percentage of students, 36%, work as a barista or an employee in fast food. Students learn many life skills that will help them in the future. By interacting with customers, taking orders, cleaning, and preparing food or drinks, students practice working alongside fellow employees. Working in service takes a lot of communication, time management, problem solving, and hard work to be successful. Sophomore Leela Sookram works at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe. “My favorite part of the job is bonding with my coworkers and making the job fun!” said Sookram.

At least 24% of students babysit or help at after school programs. Whether it’s giving kids rides, cooking dinner, helping with homework, or just keeping an eye on them, babysitting is a job that often goes overlooked. Learning how to take care of others and interact with children is a tough but rewarding task that many students partake in. Freshman Emerson Payne enjoys babysitting after school. “I have learned that patience is key,” said Payne. 

Another 17% of students work in retail. From sorting, stocking, and selling, hours of dedication is needed to be successful. Students learn valuable strategies they will use later in life. Senior Lily Maxey is a Senior Brand Ambassador at Aerie. “I’ve learned conflict management, how to work well with others, and how to balance being a leader and being a friend,” Maxey said. 

Approximately 8% of students who have jobs or internships work in healthcare or at retirement homes. Students spend time with people keeping them company, preparing or serving food, and hosting events. It is a fulfilling job that many students have grown to appreciate. “It’s heartwarming to help others but also receive advice and positive affirmations from the residents in return,” freshman Caitlin Smith said. She has been working at New Castle Retirement Center since August of 2022.

Junior Laura Torres-Salvador’s afternoons are spent at Munroe-Meyer Institute, a recreational camp for kids and young adults with disabilities. “We provide care and aid to the kids and help them become more independent. We also work on improving motor, communication, and social skills,” Torres-Salvador said. “We do activities together like swimming, art, cooking, and more.” She said her favorite part of her job is watching the kids improve. “I have learned so many things while having fun with the participants!” Torres-Salvador said. 

A final 7% of students work as a coach. Athletes who play volleyball, soccer, or wrestle, spend their week nights teaching kids sports. Setting a good example of teamwork, hard work, and discipline is an important role that coaches undertake. On top of student athletes’ own sports, many dedicate their time to helping younger kids pursue their sports dreams. Junior Madeline Wear has been coaching at Wrestling with Character for about a year. “I work with kids ages 5-9 who are just starting to learn wrestling. I think it has been the best thing I’ve ever done,” Wear said. 

After-school jobs provide students with money and, more importantly, life skills that they can carry with them. Students practice skills of communication, dedication, hard work, and time management. From customer service to retail, working with others is a rewarding experience that benefits everyone. It is important that we recognize the time and commitment students spend on their after-school jobs.

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