Student Workers: Benefits, Costs, and Risks


Yorba Linda High School seniors, Emily Kraack (12) and Ashley Ruggles (12), are shown working at Blue Scoop Creamery in Yorba Linda following new regulations due to COVID-19.

Hayden MacDonald, Photojournalist

During the quarantine, many students had more time on their hands to take up new skills, hobbies, and activities. For some, quarantine was a great opportunity to apply for jobs. With new hybrid schedules, students have more time to work and make their own income.

Seniors, in particular, have begun working across the community; from small businesses such as Blue Scoop to large corporations such as Starbucks. With avid student involvement in local businesses, there is always a familiar face wherever you go.

High school jobs are the perfect opportunity for many students to learn important life lessons such as hard work, accountability, and saving money. 

Although schoolwork is difficult and stressful, a job requires the utmost attention and diligence in order to serve customers. Students must also hold themselves accountable to show up on time and manage their busy schedules. Lastly, and most importantly, with this new income, it is easy to spend quickly. Saving and managing finances is an important skill that will provide immense benefits in the future. 

Senior Emily Kraack (12) recounts her time working at Blue Scoop as being extremely positive. She has met “so many wonderful people and [gets] to make [her] favorite ice cream!” Along with working at Blue Scoop, Emily is also Captain of YLHS Dance Co, Senior Secretary/Treasurer, as well as an AP student. Her work at Blue Scoop has only made her a stronger student and more appreciative of her community. During her time working at Blue Scoop, she has organized a school fundraiser for Yorba Linda and has helped develop this small business to being one of the busiest ice cream destinations in town. 

Although work can provide great opportunities and instill many life lessons, it can also become a distraction and burden on students who are already involved in so much. 

Several student workers are also involved in sports, activities, the arts, or multiple AP classes. As all of these extracurriculars are piled on along with their rigorous course load, it can be difficult for some to manage their time effectively and complete all these tasks to their utmost capability. 

These busy schedules can result in greater stress and anxiety that make it more difficult for the student to complete all of their daily activities. Even though it is important to become active in the school and community, it is impossible to be a part of everything.

Senior Jillian Gray (12) is one of the Rallies Commissioners of ASB, an Editor on the Yearbook staff, and also has several AP classes in her course load. Although she is “grateful for the lessons” her job has taught her, it has “taken away from homework and study time which [has caused] more stress.” Apart from these setbacks, Jillian still strives to put in her best effort into making her Senior year memorable and impactful to not only herself but her school community.

During this pandemic, all businesses have had to change their ways of operation in order to follow the government regulations to prevent the spread of the virus. With constant handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, and wearing masks, high school jobs are very different from those of previous generations. 

Senior Brandon Vega (12) has been working at Chipotle for a few months during the pandemic. He recounts his experiences at work as being “unique” from those his brothers and parents have. “It requires greater responsibility” to work during this pandemic as he is not only serving customers but also putting himself at greater risk for contracting the virus. Brandon makes sure to stay socially distant from customers; as well as cleaning surfaces more frequently to keep himself, his coworkers, and customers safe.

Businesses across the country have been forced to stay open during this pandemic due to the risk of going bankrupt and closing for good. This has put minimum wage workers at a disproportionately higher risk of contracting the virus than those able to work from home. 

As students make the choice to apply for a job, they must take into consideration not only its benefits but its many costs that have only increased with the spread of COVID-19.