Out in the real world: Work outside of schoolwork

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Students ready to work.  Photo <br /><figcaption id=Photo by Fan Horowitz

Working outside of the school environment can take on a variety of flavors, from local community service, to retail at the mall, to internships at New York colleges and labs. Even if the job is something peers and the general public look down upon, whether for low wages or basic duties, it provides a learning experience for the student by teaching them the valuable lesson of hard work.  Several Harrisites have worked summer jobs or are currently working part-time jobs in order to experience the real world, and learn what it means to make money for themselves.

Seniors Brian Shtab and Karan Chachlani both had jobs, and they said that getting money was one of the perks of having so many responsibilities. Karan, who currently works as a teacher’s assistant, said, “I decided to get a job because as a senior, I have more free time than I did in previous years; plus it’s always good to get extra money.”

Working outside of school also gives students the chance to solidify a potential career choice.

Junior Christina Su believes that since she loves tutoring her ESL student, she can see herself doing something like that in the future. “It revives my dream of being a teacher sometimes. The girl I tutor called me her big sister the other day and I almost cried. I’m glad to be there for her, and it’s interesting to me to think that I’m, in a way, responsible for the way she is today.”

Senior Maria Pinkasova, who previously entertained the idea entering the teaching profession, worked as a tutor. She used this experience to better understand what she actually wants to do later in life. “Being a tutor helped me realized that although I thought about being a teacher, I realized the job might not be for me. Although I love tutoring and teaching my student, I can’t imagine having 34 of them.”

Other students take on jobs and responsibilities because of the strong connection they have to the responsibilities involved. Senior Joshua Merai said, ‘I’ve been Catholic since birth and my family has been very active members of our local church, so after I finished 8 years of Sunday school, I volunteered as a teacher’s assistant, as well as an altar boy. As I progressed in high school I began to play a bigger part in my church as a lector and I also asked to work in the church office as a receptionist. It helps me grow in faith as well as a person.”

Some students take on jobs because they want to try out many different things until they find something that interests them. Junwoo Shin, junior, said, “I feel it’s good to have experience in multiple fields, even if I’m not interested in it necessarily. I have not found my calling,” but “I’d say volunteering at New York Hospital Queens really changed my views and I learned to value what I have more.”

Similarly, senior Amanda Dookeeram helped out her old teacher and reflected on the experience. “I learned that children aren’t easy to work with and experienced what a teacher goes through everyday. It was a good experience because it taught me how to manage time and be more responsible.”

Besides the benefit of giving a student a chance to experience the job market, students who work are able to put something down on their resumés and their school profiles for colleges. Higher institutions of education aren’t just looking for someone who works hard in the classroom, but someone who has tasted the outside world and understands what it means to have responsibility. Stellar grades and club activity aside, one of the best ways for a colleges to see how well a student will do in their institution is by looking at some of the outside opportunities they take on.

Senior Maya Grodzka, who has worked at a country club, added, “I become more independent and I’m really happy because of that. Working was definitely a good experience and I learned that life is fun even with certain duties.”

Every student has a lot to gain from giving up a bit of their free time to work at a job. By either preparing for an economy that is slowly recovering, or for a career that can never start too early, students at Townsend Harris always show off the best that the school has to offer.