Switching Shifts: Second Semester Senior Jobs


Lauren Nehorai

Between Peer Support, managing boys’ tennis, his KHWS radio show and a heavy workload, William Newhart ’19 never had a free day during his junior year. As a senior, he pulls into his driveway at 3 p.m. on most weekdays, makes himself a snack, watches some TV and attempts to find new ways to occupy the seven hours of evening time which were previously allotted to the school-related activities that consumed his junior year. While he spent the first two months after receiving his college acceptance letter exploring new hobbies and having an amount of free time he hadn’t had since middle school, Newhart said he grew tired of this inactivity and sought a job.

“I started coaching tennis at [Weddington Golf and Tennis] when my friend got a concussion and asked me to cover for her, and I just kept coming back,” Newhart said. “It gave me an excuse to get out of the house while rekindling my childhood love for tennis. It is also really rewarding to see the kids’ improvement, and with them, each day is new and exciting.”

Similarly, Bianca Bergsneider ’19 found more free time on her hands with the start of the second semester of her senior year and a desire to continue her high school passions for as long as possible. Bergsneider said she felt the logical thing to do with the second semester of her senior year was obvious: get a job.

After playing club volleyball, Bergsneider was offered a regular job with Surfside Volleyball Club. It was an offer she couldn’t resist, she said.

“I love being able to see [the kids’] improvement with every practice, as it brings back a lot of my own memories with the sport,” Bergsneider said. “It allows me to stay connected to an activity that was such a momentous part of my life, especially now that I have a much less stressful workload.”

Bergsneider said that in addition to a declining workload in second semester, she had been looking for ways to fill the time that she used to dedicate to SAT work or history reading. She said that coaching has helped her find other jobs as well.

“[Coaching] is honestly one of the best jobs I could have asked for,” Bergsneider said. “I actually have also been looking into getting another job as either a tutor or a babysitter.”

While Newhart and Bergsneider found jobs to fill their time, other students feel motivated to get a job for other reasons

In a Chronicle poll of 177 respondents, 75 percent of students said they think being a second semester senior makes it easier to have a job, and their primary motives are experience, money and boredom.
History teacher Francine Werner said she thinks jobs can be very valuable to high school seniors.

“[Jobs] expose kids to different areas of life, and they start them on the road to a little financial independence,” Werner said.

Mia Nelson ’19 has worked at Arclight Cinemas, Barnes and Noble, Chipotle and Val Surf. Although she said her jobs have lent her useful life experience, Nelson said she has always had other motives for working.
“One reason that I have a job is that I enjoy the financial independence from my parents, and I definitely feel pressure to start saving for college and so on,” Nelson said.

Nelson said that her work becomes less enjoyable when there are specific pressures behind the job. Specifically, Nelson said she has had trouble fitting jobs into her already busy schedule.

“A while ago, I had to work almost everyday after school till 9 P.M. and it was brutal, but I ended up finding a new job with more flexible hours which saved me,” Nelson said.

Similarly, Kala Fejzo ’19, who works at Tocaya Organica in Westwood, said she has worked out her schedule to fit nicely in with her other schoolwork and extra-curricular commitments and thus doesn’t feel the same pressures in her life as other employed students do.

“I would say having a job doesn’t add too much stress to school because I tend to work on the weekends anyway,” Fejzo said. “I decided to get a job because I had a lot of free time and wanted to make some extra money so when I go to college I won’t be broke.”

On the other hand, some seniors said they have not gained enough free time to take on a job. Rebecca Sugerman ’19, who is involved with dance and other extracurriculars, said that she is too busy to get a job.

“Even as a second semester senior, I still have the same amount of work I always have had, so that doesn’t make a difference,” Sugerman said. “People who have a job during the week while also getting school work done and doing extracurriculars amaze me.”

Founder of Napkin Finance, a multimedia site that simplifies money and finance Tina Hay said she has had mixed experiences with high school interns.

“Over the years, I have hired many high school seniors,” Hay said. “It often brings in a new perspective and [is] a great way to get someone who deeply understands social media and marketing. Sometimes, [however,] we bring on a student where it is clear they just want to use it as a resume builder, as opposed to being excited about the learning opportunity.”

Oliver Goldring ’19 worked for a travel agency earlier this year. He said he found having a job useful but ultimately decided to focus on high school.

“Getting a job is the perfect opportunity to gain experience and life skills that we aren’t traditionally taught in a classroom, and you can get paid in the process,” Goldring said. “But at the end of the day, I realized that I have my whole life ahead of me to work at a job, and only a few months left of high school, and I want to make sure they are memorable.”