All in a Hard Day’s Work

Senior’s Views on Working Jobs


Photo by Hank Barna

Working 15-35 hours a week at Rock n Rolls Sushi Lounge, Dalila Moran helps with running food and expo when possible. Rock n Rolls Sushi Lounge is on Lakeline Blvd, selling everything from sushi, to burgers, to lobster.

Hank Barna, Reporter

After being prepared for years to go into the “real world,” seniors have begun to face what it is really like to work a job: arrive to work on time, pay taxes, ask for a raise and manage time accordingly.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54.4% of young people aged 16-24 were employed as of July 2021. Some students worked temporarily during the summer and others began permanent employment.

Senior Dalila Moran works at Rock n Rolls Sushi Lounge as a lead hostess, where she runs food and expo. She works a minimum of 15 hours and up to 35 hours a week.

“Working while going to school is definitely a struggle, that’s for sure,” Moran said. “Although I have gotten used to it, and it’s become a part of my life for the time being, I somewhat like the busy schedule I have now. I’m glad I started [working] in high school rather than afterwards so I have a little head start in life.”

Moran says that she has felt that school has not given her a realistic expectation for work, and that she wishes schools would give a little more freedom to students when it comes to choosing what to learn and pursue. 

“A lot of schools don’t teach us about that aspect of life,” she said. “Though kids at this age want to live out carefree lives while they still can play into that too. I somewhat understand how the school system sets us up to understand the minimum we need to know once we’re on our own though.”

Despite not feeling as though she was not given proper education expectations from school, Moran said she has learned much from working.

“I’ve learned a lot thankfully,” she said. “But I guess that one thing I’ve learned is that, no matter what you do, there’s always going to be a problem or three that you can’t handle by yourself. Honestly, don’t ever be scared or ashamed to ask for help.”

Working for 23 hours a week, senior Brynn Clare works as a head hostess at the Oasis on Lake Travis. 

“It definitely gets stressful sometimes balancing the two, but I always prioritize school over work while still remaining loyal and keeping up with work responsibilities,” Clare said. “Some days it definitely feels like teachers expect their students to go home and do hours of homework for hours which isn’t possible with a job. I would say more often than not I have opportunities in class or periods like den where I can get most of my work done.”

Similar to Moran, Clare also said that she felt unprepared for working a job.

“I can’t recall a time where students were taught about getting jobs and what it would be like to have a job,” Clare said. “The most they did was help build a resume, but this was long after most students, including myself, had already gotten jobs. I think the school should have either constructed a mini course in a class that is mandatory for all students or a mandatory den meeting like once a week that teaches students about applying for jobs and the different types of jobs and their responsibilities. They could also provide a list of jobs that are local and hire high school students so it’s easier for kids to find jobs.”

Senior Mackenna Peacock works at Twin Lakes Cedar Park Football and Cheer (CPYFA) as a Gymnastics Lead Instructor and works between 15 and 20 hours a week.

“It’s hard, but it’s made my time management skills thrive,” Peacock said. “Off periods help a lot. It gives me time to do homework and relax a little before I have to leave for work.” 

Much like others, Peacock described not being given a realistic expectation from school about work. 

“School didn’t prepare me for having to file a tax return and it was so confusing,” Peacock said. “I wish school taught me more about stuff like that.”

Senior Kameron Redfern, another student working in the food industry, works at Rudy’s as a cashier and busser. He works up to 40 to 50 hours a week. According to Redfern, the hours are not too bad, but he doesn’t have a lot of free time.

“Sometimes, I usually just don’t want to do my schoolwork because it’s school,” Redfern said. “Work tends to feel different because I’m getting paid and should do a good job.”

However, Moran said that despite the hardship of having a job, it is worth the effort and making her own money gave her a sense of independence that she appreciates.

“Take the opportunity to get a job whenever it arises,” Moran said. “Though, only if you are committed to actually working. It’s worth it.”