A working balance

How BVH students manage their school and work life


Sofia Murillo

Student worker and senior Angel Rodriguez walks into his 5 o’clock shift on Sunday at the Chipotle in the Bonita Point Plaza.

From “sandwich artist” to “digital make line worker,” Bonita Vista High (BVH) students have titles that go beyond BVH Baron. As if being a student was not challenging enough, senior Alexa Burrow, senior Angel Rodriguez and sophomore Saphira Mensinger are three of many BVH student workers. On top of taking on at least five classes, these students also work in the fast food industry, adding another extracurricular to their plate.

Mensinger works at Kona Shave Ice in the Fashion Valley mall. She makes the 23 minute drive to her workplace during the weekends, which is the only time she is available to work. Rodriguez works as a digital make line worker at the Chipotle in the Bonita Point Plaza, and Burrow works as a “sandwich artist” at Subway on Bonita Rd. As her work schedule lasts up to five days a week, it often conflicts with her school schedule.

“I get to not have a fifth and sixth period,” Burrow explained. “Especially with the new schedule, getting out at 3:40, it’s just a lot for the students.”

Since Mensinger is a sophomore and needs to take more classes to fulfill graduation requirements, she must be on a longer school schedule. Despite this scheduling difficulty, she remains optimistic that her course load will lessen in the future and is willing to make sacrifices to accommodate all of her extracurriculars.

“If I was on a zero through five schedule where I got out earlier, that would be easier because I could work like weekdays as well,” Mensinger said. “But at the same time, I really value my extracurriculars. So I’m very content with what I am.”

It was in the winter so it got pretty dark pretty fast and I had to take the bus home so it kind of got in the way of me doing any homework. I had to not focus on a couple classes to pass the ones I wanted to

— senior Angel Rodriguez

Similarly, Burrow feels the least enjoyable part of being a student worker is finding a balance between school work, a social life and her job. Still, she understands that sacrifices must be made so she can work and be a student. 

“The thing that I least enjoy is trying to fit everything into my schedule. Sometimes I can’t hang out with friends or I can’t do things that I really want to because I need to go to work and I need to study for a test,” Burrow said. 

On the other hand, Rodriguez finds that his schedule at Chipotle is more flexible this year. Last year when he worked at Taco Bell, his work schedule and transportation from work to home had a greater influence on his performance in school. 

“I worked pretty late hours because legally I was allowed to work until 10. It was in the winter so it got pretty dark pretty fast and I had to take the bus home so it kind of got in the way of me doing any homework. I had to not focus on a couple classes to pass the ones I wanted to,” Rodriguez explained.

This year, Rodriguez’s manager at Chipotle is more understanding of his responsibilities as a student. They ensure that his work schedule doesn’t significantly interfere with the time he spends at school. 

“My manager is very understanding that I have school and she asks me when I get off so she can schedule me accordingly. She scheduled me 10 minutes after school and 20 minutes after school ends,” Rodriguez said. 

Mensinger’s manager is also understanding of her school commitments. When the pace of her work slows, she is able to do schoolwork so long as it does not obstruct her duties. She finds that being able to complete her homework on her shifts has helped improve her grades. 

“[Work] makes me energized to do my homework because it’s like, ‘Oh, I just worked four hours. I’m good to do a couple hours of homework,” Mensinger said. 

Being in the fast food industry, Rodriguez and Burrow have encountered similar challenges when  dealing with customers. Interactions with rude or demanding customers is yet another stressor that adds on to the pressures of managing school and work. Rodriguez explains how he has encountered many inconsiderate customers who don’t clean up after themselves while previously working at Taco Bell.  

“It was a lot to take in. I cried in the bathroom a couple of times. Not this year, though. But last year, I spent a couple minutes a day in the bathroom,” Rodriguez said.

While being a student worker is a learning experience for Rodriguez and Burrow, Mensinger has a different perspective. When she was applying for her job, she saw an opportunity to save up for her future.

“I’ve always been really scared about going into college and then not being able to afford things, so this has allowed me to start saving earlier than I would have,” Mensinger said. 

Although Mensinger, Burrow and Rodriguez must be tasked with balancing school and their work, having a job is beneficial. Not only do they like being paid, but they value the skills being a student worker has and will be continuing to teach them.

“[I’ve learned to] deal with different kinds of people, de-escalate situations and not let emotions get the best of you when someone’s yelling at you at 9 p.m. about hot sauce,” Rodriguez said.