Part-Time Job Student Feature: Kurt Wong


Kathy Wong, Staff Writer

Arcadia High School (AHS) students take on many extracurriculars and AP classes throughout their four years of high school to challenge themselves and plan for their futures. The competitiveness of the school is real, and the expectations students have for themselves are set high. With the stress and strong ambitions of students in the school, those who hold part-time jobs must balance their work hours with school and other responsibilities. Senior Kurt Wong talked about his experience working as a crew trainer at the Arcadia McDonald’s.

Wong started working at the fast food restaurant in June 2021 to make money and plan for college. When asked how he balances school with his work life, Wong admitted that Google Calendar is a big help to his weekly schedule.

“I usually schedule designated times and days for different things,” explained Wong. “For instance, I make sure that on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I don’t have any work so I can finish my homework before usually having a test on Friday.” 

Having a part-time job as a high school student can be overwhelming at times, depending on the classes you take or how well you handle stress.

“I work on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” said Wong. “For Friday and Saturday, I work from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, while on Sunday, I work from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m..”

Wong shared about whether he finds working more enjoyable or stressful. 

“Working can be stressful sometimes, especially when it gets busy, and when we are short-staffed, but at the same time I know that I’m also making money, and it’s a good experience.”

Time management is an important skill to have if you’re working a part-time job. Procrastination is usually not an option, and this is no exception for Wong. He described how he tries to finish all his homework at school and has a designated time during the week to focus on schoolwork. In addition, he even uses time during working hours to ensure that he stays on top of his priorities. 

“If I have a lot of homework I need to complete, or I have to study for a test, I usually also utilize my breaks from work like my half an hour meal break or my 10-minute rest breaks.”

Having a part-time job as a student comes with many challenges. Personally, Wong found his main difficulty to be the balance between work and school.

Wong reflected on his experience working part-time as a junior.

“I felt like I struggled a lot with that because back then I worked five days a week, and after working and doing all that stuff, I just needed to set my priorities straight and focus more time on school.”

“When you work a first-time job, it can be really hard to say no to your boss, especially when setting firm boundaries,” Wong further stated.

During the summer, students tend to go on vacation, relax, get ahead by taking summer courses, and of course, start working with all the time that they have. Wong found it hard to decline the work that he could learn from, not to mention, the money that he could earn.

Working a part-time job in high school is a commitment that is not for everyone, so students typically work in the summer without having to worry about school and grades. Wong shared his thoughts regarding this topic.

“If you’re taking five APs and your goal is to do well in all of them, I would say you shouldn’t work a part-time job unless you’re good with time management,” Wong said. “But if you think you can manage schoolwork and your job while maintaining your grades, then you should definitely consider doing it.”

Although working a part-time job during the school year is hard, there are also many perks that come along with it. Wong learned a lot of life experiences that really helped him open his eyes to the real world.

“You learn a lot of life experience while working a part-time job, and you learn about customer service that you can really use and put on your resume,” remarked Wong. I know that a lot of jobs, especially later on, really look for those types of customer service experiences, and having a part-time job really can help you with that.”

For students unsure whether or not they should start taking a part-time job during high school, Wong provided his thoughts and gave some advice with his personal experience.

“I think it really depends, but I would say having a part-time job during high school is really beneficial.”

In his sophomore year; Wong took Retail Marketing, a 7th-period class that AHS offers. Wong found it extremely beneficial for him and highly recommended it to students. Having learned a lot about job skills, like how to write a resume, and laws that employers can or can’t enforce on minors. As a student, it was a class he didn’t regret taking.

“It was really helpful for me knowing those types of background stuff to know that you don’t get taken advantage of by your employer as a minor,” said Wong. “It’s open I believe to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, so it really is a good and beneficial class for students to take.”

With AP classes, difficult customers he faces, and college on his mind, Wong continues on with his job at McDonald’s. Although it may be difficult sometimes, Wong manages to overcome the challenges and remains motivated.