Among piles of homework, sports and clubs, many students also have jobs to earn extra money. Even in tough economic times, there are plenty of opportunities for teens to work in the community. The Black & White took a snapshot of these experiences with three students’ jobs.
Lydia Carroll, Bethesda Pet Shoppe
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When junior Lydia Carroll decided to find a job where she could pursue her love of animals, she never imagined she would enjoy cleaning fishbowls and talking with jabbering parrots.
In May, Carroll began working at the Bethesda Pet Shoppe twice a week for about four hours a day. During a typical work day, Carroll helps customers, plays with animals and does homework when the store isn’t busy.
“There are really cool people there, and if you’re bored you can take out the animals and socialize them,” Carroll said. “I think everyone gets sick of scooping bunny poop at some point, but it usually isn’t a problem. I really enjoy my job.”
Carroll said she also enjoys the sense of accomplishment she gets from working, despite the relatively low pay.
“It’s nice to know that I’m saving up money for college, which I definitely need,” she said. “At this rate, I might have a car before I’m 50.”
Emily Acker, Peer to Peer Tutors
After making it through an exhausting seven hour school day, grabbing a quick snack and working on the hefty pile of homework on her desk, senior Emily Acker isn’t done. She tutors twice a week with Peer2Peer Tutors, a local tutoring firm.
“My friends were working there and they said it was a really easy job,” Acker said. “I hadn’t gotten a job and it was an easy transition.”
At Peer2Peer, Acker also has plenty of flexibility. She can take whatever jobs she wants, whenever she wants.
“You can really choose your workload,” she said. “They’ll call you if there’s a job and you say if you can do it or not.”
Despite the flexible hours and $13 an hour pay (which increases to $15 an hour after working for 30 hours), Acker said it was difficult to adjust to new teaching styles.
“You don’t just tell [your student] the answer; you let them figure it out,” Acker said. “You learn patience because if he can’t get the problem, you have to take it slow.”
Nonetheless, Acker enjoys developing relationships with her students.
“I like when I’ll tutor him for a math test and then he’ll be like ‘I got an A,’ and then we high-five and he’s really excited,” she said. “It’s good to see him learning and to feel like you’ve taught someone something.”
Eric Morrel, Georgetown Cupcake
You’ve probably seen them around school, carrying humongous white bags with the simple Georgetown Cupcake logo printed on the side. One member of the “cupcake brigade” is senior Eric Morrel, who started working at the Bethesda hot spot in August.
Although he wasn’t cupcake-crazy before landing the job, Morrel said he’s grown to love it.
“I enjoy interacting with the customers; it’s one of my favorite parts,” he said. “I can explain to them what this cupcake is and what that cupcake is. I find it fun.”
Morrel said he’s also faced challenges balancing work with school, since he usually works four hours a night on weekdays. But he added that all problems, such as the large number of Whitman employees, seem to come with hidden benefits.
“Quite frankly, I don’t like that there are so many Whitman people working there because my value of bringing in cupcakes is deflated,” Morrel said. “But honestly, it creates friendships that I normally wouldn’t have at school.”