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Jobs and internships offer students genuine work experience

By Kendall Atkinson

Job opportunities are posted outside of the College and Career Center.
Job opportunities are posted outside of the College and Career Center.

On the bulletin board outside of the College and Career center, squished between information on SAT prep help and scholarships, are flyers for jobs and internships available for students. High schoolers have been known to have odd jobs from babysitting to working at the local pizza shop since the dawn of time, but internships are something that usually only college juniors and seniors fretted over.

Nowadays students have become more and more competitive in the job and internship front with college admission directors breathing down high schoolers’ necks and the dark loom of the ever narrowing career world. Students have had to add to their ever expanding resume which leads to a crazy schedule of school, sports, extracurriculars and work.

Junior Joseph Hyun works at KFC. He has babysat previously, but says that this is his first real job. He began looking for a job last year as he thought to himself “I just need money now, I just need to get a job.”

When asking Hyun what he does to balance his schedule of school, homework, dance and work, he states “you have to give up sleep. That’s what you have to do.”

Aleeza Zinn, sophomore, has been working as a tutor for learning disabled kids since September. “My mom is a school psychologist so I’ve always been aware of kids with learning disabilities. When this job came up, it wasn’t just tutoring kids, but it was learning about a whole different method of learning and tutoring,” says Zinn. Zinn has previously worked as a babysitter and at a children’s cooking camp.

Work does not always hinder students’ capabilities. Work has become a major teaching tool for students. Hyun’s job at KFC has allowed him to meet a lot of new people. “You can’t be sassy to customers. You learn these life skills. You become more patient,” he said.

And in Zinn’s case, the children are not the only ones learning as she tutors. “The way that the program works, it is taught in a totally different way than how we were taught in elementary school and so then while I’m helping these kids then I’m learning a lot more things than I learned in school, like sentence structure, the way you say your sounds and why your mouth says sounds that way.”

“When I’m babysitting them, yeah I’m just doing it and I’m making money, but I’m not actually doing anything, I’m just sitting on the couch and watching the kids.  But with this, I’m actually working and helping these kids and I really like that part of it,” says Zinn.

Internships also have given students great views into the real working world. Senior Gary Zhou interned at Kaiser during the summer of his sophomore year. “I felt like I needed something to put on my resume,” said Zhou. Zhou’s choice of Kaiser reflected on his interest in the medical field, which he has decided to continue studying in college.

Zhou worked in the controller’s office which was in charge of the financial department, where he dealt with receptionists and accounted for funds. Zhou also “taught managers and supervisors lessons on customer service and the work flows from regional office…I did a bunch of activities I wasn’t supposed to do that my manager let me do,” he said.

“I learned to be a better speaker,” said Zhou when commenting on having to give presentations to older and more experienced workers. While Zhou was taught everything he needed to be taught, he was not told what to say and had to improvise what to say. Through this internship, Zhou was also able to build strong interpersonal relationships with people whom he still keeps in contact with to this day. Zhou has decided to go to the University of Pennsylvania to study nursing.

Julia Chen, senior, has been interning at an Alameda local children’s theater company, Tomorrow Youth Repertory, since it began her freshman year and they asked her to intern. She does a wide assortment of jobs from choreographing numbers to staging scenes to working costumes and props— practically any job in the theater.

During rehearsals, Chen runs classes for choreographing and staging. “The first year I did five classes a week, but now I just do three a week because I’ve been getting more school work,” said Chen. Each class is two hours and Chen balances her internship with school because she “just prioritize[s] school work,” she said.

Working with children— ranging from elementary to high school— has taught Chen “leadership skills definitely. Leading groups of kids you have to know how to kinda take control and still be super nice to them,” said Chen.

AHS Journalism
The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.