Students continue to work during the pandemic

By Cameron Aryanpour

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to the day-to-day lives of students at Branson. One such difficulty is the struggle of managing and finding a job for a teenager during COVID. 

Serafina Carlucci, a senior, couldn’t continue her volunteer work at the Marine Mammal Center because of being a minor. Carlucci still kept up a positive attitude when having to leave her volunteer work.

“Once, COVID hit, it made sense that we, the youth volunteers, wouldn’t be able to go back, and because I will not be an adult for a few more months, I won’t be able to go and volunteer there any time soon. The Marine Mammal Center was one of the highlights of my teenage experience, even if it meant cleaning seal feces until midnight every Sunday.” she said.

Herschel Pell, a freshman, described his summer job as a graphic designer for Great Lakes Gaming as “an incredible experience.” Being online, he could choose his hours and control his internship. It gave him something to do during the pandemic summer, and it offered him valuable experience by working with seasoned designers.

“They treated me well, even though they had never met me in person. Great Lakes Gaming helped me improve my graphic designing skills through training and constructive feedback,” he said.

Maddie O’Keefe, a junior, has been babysitting for five years. She decided to babysit because she said she was, “good with kids, loved working with them, and wanted an extra income.” Maddie discovered the challenges in babysitting this year were quite hefty. She described babysitting this year as being “much harder to form connections and containing many reschedules and it all contingent on the COVID cases.” During the interview, Maddie brought up the stress that parents deal with having to manage between being home for their younger children on Zoom or going to work.

“It can be really hard for parents to manage being at work and having their kids on Zoom,” she said. “I just want to help out that way. Kids haven’t been socializing at all, and I think it’s important for them to.”

While there have been jobs that have been substantially changed by the pandemic, some jobs have not. Charlotte Recktenwald, a sophomore, described her experience as a stable manager as “unchanged.” Originally, she decided to apply to work at the stables for experience and engaging with the community. She highlighted that being in the pandemic for one year now, she has become used to the daily routines of her work.

“Seeing as the pandemic is ongoing, and I will be working this summer, it’ll be interesting to see what the challenges are since I kind of am used to the pandemic now,” she said. 

Amrit Baveja, a senior, intended his 2016 summer internship to be a one time thing. In an interview he said, “It turned out to be a really amazing experience, the CEO was a fantastic mentor for me. He really has helped out develop my skills as an engineer and communicator.” 

He decided to stay as a senior software engineer at a downtown San Francisco based company to “gain the level of expertise some of the people offered.” Even before the pandemic, Baveja never had to work a day in person. Splice Machine, the data storage company he works at is a distributed company, meaning that it doesn’t have an office. Much like Recktenwald, the pandemic didn’t have much of an impact on his work life. In an interview, he highlighted that working from home was already a norm for him.

“In software engineering you are given a list of tickets, which are your tasks. If you finish them in two weeks, you’re good to go,” he said. 

Of the 30 respondents to a school-wide survey, nine freshman, eight sophomores, four juniors and nine seniors, more than three quarters of them have had a job, but now less than half have a job. More than a third of the responses expressed that they did have a job pre-COVID, but do not anymore. Currently, a third are looking for an immediate job, while over three-quarters of the respondents are planning on having a summer job.

While some students still have normalcy in their work-lives, it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the landscape for teenagers and jobs.