Holding a part-time job in high school can be a juggling act between work, school and extracurricular activities. Many teenagers at Elkin High School face this challenge head on.
Senior Beth Coe works as a cashier at Elkin’s Food Lion. Like many teens, Coe works in order to buy items she would otherwise not have. “If I don’t work, I can’t drive.”
Coe said the best aspect of working is her paycheck, as it pays for her car, gas, insurance and repairs. However, she wishes that she could study more as work gives her “less time.”
As a grocery store cashier, interacting with the general public takes up most of her time. Coe said it can be difficult at times, but “I did get better at counting change.” While it is challenging, Coe said her part-time job has taught her to prioritize goals, and her time management has improved.
Another senior, Hannah Roberts, works at Dodge City Steakhouse in Elkin and Wilkesboro. Roberts works to pay off bills and car insurance. She enjoys interacting with her coworkers and receiving her paycheck. Roberts finds balancing school and work difficult, and wishes her teachers knew that “a lot of times you can’t study over the weekend.”
Like Coe, she finds that the most difficult aspect of working part time is the public. Often, “people are rude, and say mean things.” Despite this, Roberts enjoys working and has developed better people skills. “You learn how to deal with [people]; it is important to know what to say to people. You’ve got to know how to act based off of their actions.”
Another high school senior, Laken Lloyd, who is employed at the Elkin Castrol, works to pay car insurance and for her gas. Her co-workers are “like a family,” and she really enjoys her job. Lloyd’s part-time job has made her more responsible, but it also has made it difficult to study for school. Her job at Elkin Castrol has made Lloyd a responsible adult, “rather than [my parents] handing me everything I want.”
Lloyd’s worst work experience happened when she accidentally messed up a tire rotation. She learned a lesson that day though. “You’ve just got to really pay attention. It’s not about getting the customer in and out as fast as you can. You have to take your time and really focus on making sure that their safety comes first.”
Overall, each student expresses that while they have setbacks and less time, they found themselves learning valuable life skills they would not have without working.
Makayla Adams, Afton Nelson, Ashley Hemric and Morgan Wiles are English students at Elkin High School.