Student Feature: Kelsey Milner

Hannah Lundin

     These days, jobs are a hot commodity, especially among high school students. But with the economy being the way it is, finding work is easier said than done. Businesses are laying off people by the dozens and when someone is hiring, the opportunity doesn’t last long.  However, one student, Kelsey Milner, junior, has found a way around that problem by using her creativity to turn junk into a job.

     Milner had always enjoyed art as a fun and relaxing hobby, but never anything more than that.  This summer when her father moved and was getting to know all of his neighbors, he met a man that owned his own business, but as a side job he would go to storage center auctions and junk yards.  He would also just drive around neighborhoods on big trash days and find furniture and household items, refurbish them, and then sell them on Craigslist and make a decent amount of money doing it. He also told Mr. Milner that things had been slow recently because he was putting in more hours at his business so he didn’t have time to clean up or list anything online. Mr. Milner then told him about his daughter Kelsey, who had been searching for a job for a while, and how she would love to help him with refurbishing and listing all of the item. A week later Kelsey was working on her first project and enjoying every minute of it. Now she is getting paid to exercise her creativity while doing something she enjoys and can manage on her own time.

     Kelsey still has the job today and has done quite a few pieces. She has complete freedom on the artistic aspect of things and loves what she does.

     “I love taking something old and worn out and giving it a new life” Milner.

     She is usually given a useless and torn up piece of furniture or something like a picture frame, a table found on the side of the road or a chair found in a junk yard, and is just told to make it worth something. That could be done by painting, drawing, collaging, tiling or any means of art you could think of, and she can make a completely original and beautiful piece for someone’s home or office. Recently, she has completed a desk- which her boss found on the side of the road. She sanded it, painted it, and then used bits of scrapbooking paper to create a garden themed collage on it; she also created a collage on an old guitar with an Austin theme. Along with those she’s painted, she hot glued knickknacks onto a mirror giving it a very retro ‘I-spy’ theme.

     When someone posts something on Craig’s list everyone has access to it; a wide variety of buyers get on the site everyday looking for something particular to complete a space. Not only does Milner get paid for making and selling these items but other job opportunities have come from her putting her work up on Craig’s list.

     “A woman who owns her owns business wanted me to decorate her whole office after buying one of my pieces – I was thrilled” said Milner.  “Who knew that my hobby could turn into a business?”

     Some people don’t want to work in food or retail, but teenagers normally don’t have many other options. Students usually get stuck with jobs they don’t like, making work boring and unpleasant.   Before looking for a job, first consider the activities that you find enjoyable; maybe your hobby could turn into a job too.