Four Falcons Share Their Experience of Balancing a Job During School


Ashley Hawkins

Balancing school and work can be a handful, but four students decided to take on the challenge.

Clara Hudson, Staff Reporter

As a high school student, stress levels can be high with homework, sports, and extracurricular activities. Many students in the La Salle community add to their academic workload by deciding to work a job. Four La Salle students shared their experiences with having a job during the school year.

Maximilian Ramirez-Hernandez:

One of Ramirez-Hernandez’s jobs while working at the restaurant is baking crème brûlée. (Lucy Loeb)

Senior Maximilian Ramirez-Hernandez works at his family restaurant in Sellwood called Harney Street Cafe. 

At Harney Street Cafe, Ramirez-Hernandez has many responsibilities within his job, such as washing dishes, but his main role is baking croissants. “I make croissants, and then someone else, maybe my aunt, comes along, cuts it in half and puts whipped cream and strawberries on it,” he said.

Ramirez-Hernandez is not sure when he started to bake, but he can remember that he was inspired by his dad to start. “One time I saw my dad making an apple crisp which was my favorite, I asked him how to make it, and he showed me how,” he said. “I started developing more baking skills after that.”

His family opened Harney Street Cafe shortly after the pandemic began. Prior to opening their current business, his family owned a different restaurant. “Before we opened Harney Street Cafe, we used to live in Vancouver, Washington, so we had another restaurant there,” he said. “It was very different, it was a smokehouse.” 

While he only works on days with no school, he still finds it difficult to balance school and work. “I am supposed to go to work at 7 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. That’s my entire workday, and then I get home at 3 p.m. and I want to go to bed in a timely manner,” he said. All of this only leaves him about two hours to do homework at night.

Even though it is hard managing both school and work, staying busy allows him to fend off procrastination. “Knowing the time constraint, it kind of puts pressure on [me] to keep working even after I just finished work,” he said.

One lesson he has learned since getting a job is the importance of managing his time wisely, since free time is hard to come by as both a student and a part-time employee.

Ramirez-Hernandez’s strategy to manage school is to take advantage of any extra time he has during class. “Trying to do homework as much within the week leaves a lot of time on the weekend to have free time,” he said.

Catie Tassinari:

While working at Starbucks, Tassinari has “gotten a lot better at connecting with people, [and] having conversations with strangers,” she said. (Ruby Batcheller)

Senior Catie Tassinari has been working at the Starbucks kiosk inside of Target for the past two years. She had applied to a few different places, but Starbucks had a lot of perks, including the distance from school and her house, along with her impression of the staff before she officially accepted the job.

Tassinari works only on the weekends but amps up the hours during the summer as a result of having more free time. 

Over the summer, her kiosk shut down for remodeling, and following this a lot of people left. Since then, she has started to get close with everyone else that has joined the staff and she thinks they are really nice, making it easy for her to form connections.

Because of the temporary closure, Tassinari got moved to work in the actual Target store for a short period of time.

Since last year, having a job during school has only gotten easier. “I think junior year it was harder, especially through sports and school and AP classes,” she said. “It was a lot to balance.” 

Tassinari uses many methods to be able to manage work and school, including doing her homework on Thursdays and Fridays. Along with that, “keeping work on the weekends has made it a lot easier,” she said. For Tassinari, the weekends are a time to work without worrying about school. 

While having a job during the school year, Tassinari sees many benefits including being able to make money and learn real-world lessons. But on the other hand, Tassinari doesn’t enjoy the lack of free time she has to herself along with time to hang out with friends.

While working at Starbucks, Tassinari has learned many things. “I’ve gotten a lot better at connecting with people [and] having conversations with strangers,” she said. She has also learned how to balance her workload and look ahead in her schedule so she is not scrambling.

Athan Van Sickle:

Junior Athan Van Sickle believes that being both a student and an employee has been beneficial for him. “I think it is a good work experience, especially in high school to balance work and school,” he said. (Mackenzie Torres)

Junior Athan Van Sickle worked at Taco Bell for a month before starting a job at Dutch Bros, where he has been working since June 2022. 

He decided to work at Dutch Bros. because of his brother’s experience.“He worked there for like three years and loved the community,” Van Sickle said.

Since starting to work at Dutch Bros., Van Sickle has loved it. “I love the community, I love the customers,” he said. “I have made a lot of friends there, and met some amazing people.”

Van Sickle works weekends and every other day during the week, which can sometimes be hard for him. “It definitely got to me in the fall doing cross country, leaving practice early, and then immediately going to work,” he said. 

Since he works during the week, Van Sickle has to efficiently manage his time. He does this by prioritizing larger assignments and recognizing that he can’t procrastinate. “You can’t push it off an extra day because you work the next night,” he said. “You don’t want to stay up till 2 a.m.”

The benefit that Van Sickle notices while having a job during school is the flexibility to spend money. “I feel like I’m more responsible, like what I purchase and how I spend my money,” he said.

For example, Van Sickle wanted a car and decided to save his money in order to purchase one.

Van Sickle’s most valuable lesson he has learned since starting to work is, “time is money,” he said. “You’ve got to balance your time, got to make time in your day for your friends, your school, [and] everything else.”

Rowan Mozena:

At the Aquatic Center, Mozena works alongside many La Salle students. (Ashley Hawkins)

Sophomore Rowan Mozena is a lifeguard at Clackamas Aquatic Park. 

Along with lifeguarding, she also occasionally does swim lessons. This is her first job, which she has had for around a year.“I have a background in swimming, and I am a lifeguard, so they go hand in hand with each other,” she said.

As a lifeguard, her main role is to “watch your waters and make sure you don’t see any alarming activity happening,” she said.

Mozena works once or twice a week, but once summer starts, she works more often.

As a student with a job, she finds it easy to balance both as a result of many breaks while at work. “We get quite a few breaks because they want to keep us good and fresh to work,” she said. “So there’s quite a few breaks that happen, and you can get homework done in between.”

Being able to get homework done during the breaks at work allows her to be able to better manage her workload when she gets home.

Mozena likes that her job helps her have deadlines for school because if she doesn’t, nothing will get done. Along with that, she also likes to have an income.

As a result of working as a lifeguard, Mozena has encountered many different people. “I’ve gotten to see a lot more people of many different backgrounds who I wouldn’t usually see,” she said.

While being a lifeguard, Mozena learned that “it’s important to manage your time well or else nothing is going to get done, ” she said.

Correction April 25, 2023

A previous version of this article stated senior Catie Tassinari has worked at Starbucks for nine months, when she has worked there for two years.