The Scoop on Student Summer Jobs

When people think of summer, they tend to imagine a relaxing image: vacations, beaches, ice cream. It is hard to believe that any work happens in these two to three months where students gain back some peace. And yet, even if summer assignments are being ignored until September, work is still happening. (?) All over the globe, students and teenagers are working summer jobs, and broadening their skill sets. Even if a person is privileged enough financially to not need to work, working part time over the summer is far more beneficial than simply earning money. Teens logically have a narrower viewpoint on the world than that of their adult counterparts. Working a job can educate them about the real world and teach them real skills that they might not have known before. A job is what people make of it; if they like or learn to like what they do, they will get much more out of the experience than those who are stubborn and negative about their experience. The overall benefits of working most definitely outweigh the negatives.

 Working a summer job, while temporary, provides just the right amount of time to learn and apply skills. A job can teach helpful skills that students typically are not taught in a common school curriculum. “It is beneficial to know what it is like in a working environment, doing the work and maintaining the schedule,” said junior David Jerzak. Learning how to handle money, communicating with others, and other real-world skills are learned in work situations. Not only does this benefit students in their daily lives, but it also helps students possess handy skills for future tasks and jobs.

 Furthermore, jobs help teens build their attention span and multi-tasking skills, allowing them to focus on many, sometimes mundane, tasks for multiple hours at a time. Even more, teens might be lucky enough to find something they genuinely enjoy doing, and they may decide to further explore and hone their skills in the future. “I think working a summer job not only helps to develop a work ethic, but it also gives kids an opportunity to explore different career paths and gain an understanding of what they might want to do in the future,” said junior Nora Kane. Over the summer, Kane will be working in the field of science and research.  “I’ll be interning at Brookhaven National Lab this summer under the guidance of Dr. Vahid Ranjbar, who manages the Electron Injector department for Brookhaven’s upcoming Electron Ion Collider (EIC). Under his guidance, I will be using artificial intelligence to analyze Fortran code, which simulates the behavior of a beam distribution in a synchrotron for different bunch intensities, distributions, and non-linear optics and determine the optimal parameters for the electron injectors of the EIC from this data,” she said. Such hands-on applications when working are irreplaceable and unique.

“I am working at [the Center for Science Teaching and Learning] (CTSL) in Rockville Center as a camp counselor,” said senior Alex Spector. She sees the value in working a summer job: “I think there are benefits; you can get much more experience working along with being paid too.”

There are so many joyful and fun moments during the summer season; however, there are also boring, mundane days that are just going to be filled with seemingly never-ending hours of screen time. Why not counteract these boring days by doing something productive? By getting a job, one can fill up the hours doing something that will add skills and valuable experiences to a resume, and will provide some extra spending money. “[The job] keeps me occupied along with allowing me to get daily exercise too,” said Spector. In some cases, if they are lucky, a job can also provide a person with some new friends who share a common link: their work! Working can mean many different things other than long, boring hours. It can be a positive experience with positive rewards.

“I am not working a summer job. I do believe that there are all sorts of benefits in working a summer job,” said Jerzak. While not having one or planning to have one himself, he sees the many benefits having a job would offer. “In my opinion, it is worth it having a summer job as long as the person is taking advantage of the working experience to learn something and make some money,” Jerzak continued. 

Many students have a savings goal: college, a car, or just something one wants. A job is the perfect way to save up for that. “I have saved so much money to put towards college!” exclaimed Spector. The reliability of a paycheck is something a person cannot find in most places. Knowing that every couple of weeks (or whenever, depending on the person) they will receive their hard-earned money,  gives people something to look forward to. Not only that, but knowing when and the exact amount of the paycheck makes it much easier to budget one’s money. Especially for teens, payday can be seen as an introduction to responsibility and accounting. Not to mention, it is an awesome feeling to pay for something completely using one’s own money! It is important to understand the hard work that goes into making money, and it makes paying for one’s self all the more triumphant. “Working a summer job helps [people] develop a sense of financial literacy, as they can understand the work that goes into making money,” said Kane. There is a feeling of accomplishment in being independent, and getting a part-time summer job is one of the best ways to achieve this feeling. “When students get paid, they begin to understand what it is like maintaining money and spending it on what is necessary, or from time-to-time, something fun,” said Jerzak. 

“Given all of the benefits, I definitely think working a summer job is worth it. You gain valuable work experience, earn some pocket cash, and have something to do over the summer which is productive,” said Kane. Both the long-term and short-term benefits to working a summer job should be considered by any teen when planning out his or her summer schedule.