Jobs Broaden Students’ Perspectives

Growing up in the environment that Berkeley students affectionately call the “Berkeley Bubble” can sometimes cause us as students to lose touch with reality and view the world solely through the Berkeley paradigm. Of course, there are several ways to combat this dilemma such as involvement in leadership roles and like situations. At Berkeley, though, one of the smallest minorities of the student body is students with jobs, yet these people have gleaned a certain understanding of society and life outside the comfort of Berkeley that many others have not.

Many students may have spent their entire childhoods interacting with very like-minded people, insulated from the ideas and perspectives that the world around them has to offer. Senior Avram Rago, who has worked at places like Xtreme Juice and Mathnasium said “It’s important to get some experience working with others in a business setting.” Working with people in the professional world is inevitable, and these interactions can help positively shape a person’s entire future as he or she continues on through college and beyond. Mastering the skill of professional interaction has many benefits in this regard, and having a high school job develops this skill. In the professional environment, Rago agreed that “you must be able to produce a good product regardless of whomever you’re working with.”

The time commitment to a job, which can detract from time devoted to academics or extracurricular activities, may be a deterrent to those considering applying. Sophomore Jack Eppink, who works at Burger 21, acknowledges that working a job can be a large time investment. Eppink said, “I do my best to manage my school life as well as my job needs.  I work only on weekends and still maintain an active role in Berkeley life.” He was quick to point out that the amount of time he needs to dedicate to employment is compensated with “a sense of fulfillment [that having a job provides].”

Eppink and Rago both pointed out that having a job is an important part of high school life, but it isn’t for everybody. Nevertheless, lessons learned and values that a job instills cannot be taught in a classroom setting, making work an invaluable experience.