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Rant & Rave


Tuesday, April 4, 2000

Student employment
provides real educational value

The following were written
in response to Victor Chang's
March 21 rant.


Job paid off in many ways

By Tiffany Fujioka


THERE is nothing to lose from having a job in high school, only much to gain. As an alumnus of Iolani School and sophomore at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, I believe I am accurate in saying that I have constantly been surrounded by individuals of great intelligence. However, these students, as smart as they may be in class, do not have the slightest idea what it is like to live in the "real world," as an entity independent of their parents.

Many lack the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in today's society. Why? Because they have never held a job.

Perhaps it is Victor's youth that prevents him from seeing the value of being employed during high school. He claims that "teen-agers learn nothing new by performing monotonous labor in stores or restaurants." It saddens me that such an intelligent individual cannot understand the amount of knowledge that can be gained from holding a part-time job.

I sought employment for the first time at the age of 15, mainly because my parents were having financial problems. Although it was not necessary, I continued to work throughout high school at a local bakery for a minimal salary. Sure, I may not have been able to apply the "views of Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Adams," but I did learn about teamwork, communication, respecting my superiors and co-workers, how to be professional, and the importance of business-consumer relations.

Most importantly, I learned how to take responsibility for myself and to be independent. I learned that the value of my paycheck was not simply monetary; when I held my first paycheck in my hand, I felt pride. Unlike most of my peers who relied on their parents to purchase everything from the new pair of shoes that they "must" have to their girlfriend's Valentine's Day presents, I paid for everything I owned, and I am still proud of it.

Being a good student alone will not guarantee you will have a good job in the future. There are some skills you can only learn through the experience you gain from interacting in a work environment.

My part-time job did not infringe on my extracurricular activities. I still went out, I was a member of the dance team, even president of my class.

Many students, like Victor, believe that being employed would mean sacrificing "grades, test scores and other college credentials." I held a steady job for three years of high school and even took on a second job the summer before my senior year while simultaneously taking two classes in summer school.

How did I fare in terms of grades, test scores, and college? I graduated Cum Laude, was a National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar, and am attending an Ivy League university with arguably the best undergraduate business school in the world. The essay I submitted to Penn was supposed to be about an event that had a powerful impact on me. It was about receiving my first paycheck. Obviously, the members of the admissions committee did not believe that my part-time job was a waste of time.

I have met people here in college who have never held a job and know nothing about the commitment or hard work that is necessary to hold an 8-to-5 job or even a part-time job. I feel both resentment and pity for these students, resentment because they continue to let their parents spoil them instead of taking responsibility for themselves, and pity because they have no idea what they have missed out on and are not prepared for the world they will encounter when they leave school.

You can argue that it is parents' responsibility to provide for their children until they are adults, but at some point children do grow up and should take responsibility for themselves. In my opinion, it is never too early to learn how to be independent.

Tiffany Fujioka is a 1998 Iolani School graduate
currently attending the Wharton School of Business
at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lessons learned in work

By Raelynn Gaspar-Asaoka


WHEN I read Victor Chang's article, I was very surprised because he was trying to say that getting a job is not important for students because parents are responsible for providing for children until they reach adulthood

Well, the majority of society is not so fortunate and many students need the extra money either for themselves or for their family.

Everyone needs to learn social skills and learning them by flipping burgers, even if it means getting a job before you're 18, is not a bad thing because you'll have that much more time to perfect your social skills. You'll learn how to get along with others, how to cooperate and how to work hard.

Maybe Victor doesn't have to work because his parents can provide him with everything he wants, or maybe he doesn't need "spare change" that could be spent in a "single weekend at the mall, a sporting event or performance."

I am too young to get a job, but if I want something beyond necessities, my parents give me chores so I can earn extra money. Sometimes the chores are not "meaningful and enjoyable" (like picking up dog waste) but I value the money I earn that much more.

Victor says that flipping burgers during high school doesn't utilize all the skills he worked hard to learn in school, but any job can teach you something that you cannot learn in school or in a book.

So, my point is this: Studying all the time may not be the best thing because learning to work with others is equally important!

Raelynn Gaspar-Asaoka is a 7th grader
at Mililani Middle School.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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