Students manage part-time jobs on top of school


photo courtsey of Kaitlin Gotting

Junior Kaitlin Gotting, who works as a lifeguard at the Rockville Swim Center, is just one of many students who have part-time jobs. These students must balance the responsibilities that come with their job along with school and other extracurriculars.

Kobina Asafu-Adjaye, Social Media Editor

Don’t ever be afraid to communicate your needs to your manager or boss since you are a student.

— Tabitha Longest

Tabitha Longest, a junior at RM, prepares for a four-hour shift at Ben & Jerry’s once the 2:30 bell rings, after six long hours of schoolwork and assignments. She walks to Rockville Town Center immediately to begin her shift. The same can be said for many students here at Richard Montgomery. Students with part-time jobs have a bit of adjusting to do, as they navigate going back to a normal school schedule in a new school year, participating in extracurriculars and managing all of their assignments.

Longest began working at the popular ice cream chain several months ago. Longest has a strong connection to the ice cream shop, as two of her older siblings have worked there. Her main duties include managing cake orders, cleaning and making sure that her work area is organized and, of course, scooping ice cream.

Junior Max Polster works at a local Saturday school, where he helps staff members with logistical planning, like making sure everything is in place for the children attending the school. He was contacted by the school to see if he could work for them, and was hired on the spot.

Junior Kaitlin Gotting has continued to work at the Rockville Swim Center as a lifeguard, where she has held the position since summer vacation. She has been on a swim team throughout her life, and officially became Red Cross Certified and applied at for the lifeguard job. For her, a typical shift includes setting up equipment for the classes she instructs, attending staff meetings and creating lesson plans for her swimming students.

Longest appreciates her familiarity with the store and the proximity of it to her house and RM. During the application process at the end of the summer, she was able to get assistance from her sibling. Once she did get the job, Longest felt a bit overwhelmed at first.

“It was extremely nerve-wracking the first few shifts. Especially since I was trying to make everything extremely perfect. But because of the welcoming environment, some of my stress and anxiety went away with time, ” Longest said. 

Longest is also a part of the school-sponsored trip to Japan next year, and her earnings from her job would go towards paying for her trip and any souvenirs she may want during her travels.

Although the students have been working in their workplaces between a few weeks and a couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the regular work environment. Gotting noted how it has been a bit uneasy at times to work at her job.

“You just never know really with COVID. I just try to wear my mask as much as possible and make sure everyone is staying safe,” she stated.

However, the conditions at Polster’s job have not been to the point of worry.

“It’s been alright; COVID being around does impose some barriers at my job, but it’s not too bad,” Polster said.

At Ben & Jerry’s, Longest, and her work crew must continuously wipe down counters and use wax paper while coming in contact with food.

“We’re definitely more careful with how we handle our stuff, and we unfortunately don’t allow people to sit indoors,”Longest said.

Gotting mentioned how having her position at a pool during the pandemic has been challenging, as people are not as likely or able to follow certain guidelines.

“Having this particular job during the pandemic has been difficult because it isn’t possible to social distance or wear a mask in the pool,” Gotting said. 

In terms of balancing school alongside a part-time job, and being asked to fill in extra shifts, Longest recommends for students to prioritize school over their job. 

“Don’t take too many shifts when you know you have a lot of work. Don’t ever be afraid to communicate your needs to your manager or boss since you are a student,” Longest said.

Gotting feels that being a lifeguard helps keep her from pushing her assignments until the last second, and making sure all of her academic-related tasks are complete.

“Having a job keeps me from procrastinating on my homework because I have to stick to my schedule. If I don’t, I know I’ll fall behind and have many assignments pile up,” Gotting said.

Longest feels happy being able to interact and see more members of the Rockville community that come into the shop.

“It’s always nice when unfamiliar faces and regulars come in. I feel like it gives me an opportunity to both briefly talk to new people, and catch up with some I might already know.”