Senior endures hardships of balancing adulthood, adolescence
September 29, 2018
As her shift ends, she removes her apron, escaping the pressures of being an employee and submerges herself into the pressures of being a high school student. She returns home to an empty apartment, exhausted after a 16 hour day, and begins her assignments to prepare for the next day. She goes to sleep before repeating it all over again the next morning at 6 a.m. School. Work. Homework. Bills. Everything in between.
Senior Miracle Watson is in the Distributed Education Clubs of America (DECA) program where she splits her school day between classes in the morning and working her job at Golden Corral in the afternoon. Watson’s job as a cashier ensures that customers are accommodated to the best of her ability. She found out about the job opportunity through job hunting and discovered the benefits of working in a restaurant environment.
“I am responsible for customer service needs at my job. I also make sure that our cups and straws are stocked. My main responsibility is cash handling,” Watson said. “I knew I wanted to challenge myself in a fast paced working environment. The restaurant is pretty busy all the time. So, it’s a way to challenge myself to get stuff done in a fast atmosphere.”
The DECA program fit Watson’s current schedule. Her main concern is finding a balance between school and work but being part of the program has taught her about more than how to handle work a working life.
“In the practice marketing class, we learn about professionalism. The class has taught me how to be more professional, what not to do in interviews or all my job. My advice to the underclassman is to not get into DECA because you get a chance to leave school early and to start making mature life decisions,” Watson said. “DECA is a great program that allows you to leave school early but also make sure to get your other responsibilities done as well. It may not be when you graduate that those responsibilities come because it came really early for me.”
Since Watson’s work requires daily transportation, she currently relies on her coworkers or grandmother for rides. Yet, Watson is working on obtaining her license to ease the stress of driving to work every day with help from her DECA teacher, Mrs. Pam Hamilton.
“I didn’t have anyone to influence me to get a license or find out how to get it, so I feel like Mrs. Hamilton has really helped me out not only within school, but within my personal life,” Watson said. “She’s trying to help me get my license, and I really appreciate her for that. That’s my main goal for this year.”
As the youngest of the family, Watson wasn’t prepared for the weight and responsibility of taking care of herself. However, her employers aid with any problems that arise and give her advice about work and her personal life.
“I’m really glad that I did get the job because it has taught me to work with other people and ask for help. It’s not like bosses or excessively strict or anything,” Watson said. “They won’t hold it against you because you do have problems of your own at home. They don’t fire you because of personal problems because they’re understanding people.”
In addition to working and attending school, Watson pays her own bills in the apartment she owns on her own. The plan to move out of her house was unexpected, but the influence of DECA helped align her responsibilities.
“I have my own apartment so getting a chance to leave school early to get accommodate more hours at my job has helped align with personal responsibilities in my life. I moved out for personal reasons that early at a young age. Having an apartment and taking care of yourself is difficult and stressful, but I’m just making sure that I’m focusing on not just work but the responsibilities at school.”
Growing up with her parents who were both entrepreneurs, Watson is familiar with the mechanics of handling a business as her mother was owner of a clothing store and aspires to work in business as well.
“My family were all about business management and getting your business license. They want to have something of their own and bring a new product to the world. I feel like I’ll probably be managing my own business or something similar. I’d most likely go into women’s apparel or the makeup industry.”
Watson’s relationship with her mother has sustained through tough obstacles in life, and Watson has learned vital life lessons about vulnerability and remembering to be thankful for her blessings even if a situation seems stressful.
“My mom is often stressed and so a lot of pressure has been placed on me because I have to fend for myself now,” Watson said. “With taking care of that, I’m not worried about if I’m good— if I’m really okay. I break down sometimes because it really is hard. I remind myself that even if stuff is going on bad at your house, just make sure you respect your parents.”
Watson’s experience as a worker and maturing at an early age have manifested into learning more about herself and the path she desires to go down in order to succeed in life after high school. “Do not just try to wait for someone to tell you to go and be successful. Be successful because you want to be successful and when you turn the right age to start planning for jobs, go apply. It’s about trying to become a young adult and it’ll help a lot in the future.”