As the sun sets on the 2021-2022 school year, Kingsway students prepare to find and work summer jobs. From freshmen to seniors, there is no question that teens are prepared to earn a little cash and job experience after the school year ends if they have not already jumped at the opportunity.
“I currently have a local summer job, mainly to make money and stay busy. It is a way for me to save money for when I leave for college, as well as to spend time with my friends,” explained senior Olivia Wagner.
Students reveal many benefits to summer jobs aside from just making money. “I am totally fine with working a minimum wage job this summer because it is my first job, and although I’m getting paid, I definitely need the working experience and mindset more than the money,” disclosed Ava Nottis, a freshman.
While many seniors are already employed across our community, most underclassmen have not yet found their summer jobs. Freshmen and sophomores struggle to navigate working papers, mandatory documents under New Jersey state law that allow students to seek employment once they are 15 years old.
“I have not tried to get working papers,” claimed Nottis. “I believe that all I have to do is see my guidance counselor to get started”. While this statement is correct, in addition to visiting the school guidance counselor, students also need the signature of their principal, family doctor, parents, and employers in order to work.
Because this process can often be complex, some students choose to babysit or mow lawns, which do not require working papers.
On the other hand, juniors and seniors are more comfortable in their long-term employment status. “I am content with making minimum wage and working part-time this summer. It would be great if I could obtain a higher-paying job; however, leaving for college in a few months has left me little time to settle into a new work environment,” disclosed Wagner.
In addition to those working locally, many students have opted to find jobs down the shore this summer depending on the location of their beach houses or vacation homes. Spending the summer break away from home does not prevent Kingsway students from seeking employment.
Although vacation plans do not prevent students from working, there are a few barriers to entry. “One reason students do not pursue summer jobs is that they prefer to have freedom and relaxation during their short time off from school,” began Wagner. “At this age, it is difficult to manage a part-time job, sports, and a social life, especially in the summer. The rigor of high school classes leaves students exhausted from the long school year, making a summer job unappealing,” she continued.
Additionally, employers often want workers with flexible schedules. Students wanting to spend time with their friends, family, and sports teams are often met with difficulty in trying to maintain a rigorous work schedule. This is especially challenging for the Class of 2022. These recent graduates want spending money as they embark on their post-secondary plans but also hope to enjoy the last vestiges of childhood, making memories with friends as opposed to joining the workforce.
“Naturally, students will need off from their part-time jobs for various reasons, but it is often forgotten by employers that their employees are teenagers looking to make the most out of their young lives while they have the time to do so,” expressed Wagner. In spite of this, students continue to make their best effort to find a work-life balance that works for them. This proves to be an important lesson in itself.
As seniors turn their tassels and underclassmen prepare to complete another year of school, the sense of freedom and opportunity about the summer loom in the warm air. Finding and working summer jobs play a major role in the plans that Kingsway students have for the upcoming months.
By Audrey Pachuta