Working Hard at School isn’t the only Place Grizzlies Work

Senior%2C+Adrian+Gonzalez+restocking+perishables++at+Target+in+Santa+Ana.+Photo+taken+Sunday%2C+Feb.+7%2C+2021+at+2%3A47+p.m.

Ebony Garcia

Senior, Adrian Gonzalez restocking perishables at Target in Santa Ana. Photo taken Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021 at 2:47 p.m.

Ebony Garcia and Juan Velez

Ever since the pandemic hit hard in March 2020, affecting millions of families across the country, many of our Grizzlies have learned the value of hard work by getting a job.

Here are some Grizzlies working a part time job while staying on top of their academics and extracurriculars:

Ramy Alhawari pushes carts at the Costco where he works close to full-time hours. (Photo courtesy of Rami Alhawari)

Senior, Ramy Alhawari currently works at a Costco located in Fountain Valley. Alhawari has worked there since July 8, 2020, four months after the initial lockdown.

Alhawri said that he’s had no trouble maintaining his job and school work at the same time. At the peak of the pandemic, he worked 25 to 30 hours a week this past summer. 

Alhawari enjoys work because as he said, “it takes [his] mind off of school.”

Working the front-end for Alhawri means that he is usually positioned at cash registers, running go-backs, and recovering product in certain areas.  He thinks that Costco does a good job to maintain a safe work environment for the customers and employees. Masks and gloves are provided and employees’ temperatures are taken and questions about the employee’s symptoms are asked before every shift.

For senior, Sofia Barrows, who currently works at a local Subway in Santa Ana, she finds work stressful at times but there is joy because of her kind co-workers. Barrows has worked at Subway for six months. 

Barrows she hasn’t had a problem managing both school and work, but admits that at times, she does have to rush home and complete an assignment before it’s due. 

Senior, Sofia Barrows, in her standard Subway uniform before she starts her shift. (Courtesy of Sofia Burrows)

Barrows said that her work has “taken safety procedures on taking care of customers and employees like providing masks, take out orders only, consistent hand washing, and sanitizing the whole store every hour.” 

Senior, Melissa Alcantar has also only been employed for six months. She works at a Panda Express in Santa Ana and enjoys the fast paced environment. 

“I started working so I can start saving money, so I can buy a car. But, I also want to save money for college and have money to buy food. I didn’t like that I ask my parents for money,” said Alcantar.

Her main reason for working? “I want to be more independent,” Alcantar added.

Online classes has changed her, since it allows Alcantar to be less stressed about school and to have a job on the side, which she wouldn’t be able to have if school was in person.

Alcantar added, “I definitely wouldn’t have a job right now, because it would be harder for me to take advanced classes and it’s also better for me because I only work one weekday and the weekends.”

Senior, Adrian Gonzalez, who currently works at Target, works to help his family. He started working at 16 because he helps his parents save money in case of an emergency. He’s had the job for almost a year now and one of Gonzalez’s main positions is to restock shelves. 

Gonzalez enjoys working at Target because it’s a stable job, however, for Gonzalez, “It’s frightening to work at the moment because a lot of my coworkers have caught COVID-19.”

The job keeps Gonzalez busy but, his main priority is to stay safe for himself and his family. 

Senior, Rigoberto Martínez, who currently works at a balloon stand located at the Outlets of Orange, also tries to take as many precautions as possible in order to keep he and his family safe.

Martinez has been working at the balloon stand for about three months. He started the job his senior year because of the online-only curriculum. Martinez realized he had a lot of free time with no school activities or sports at school currently. To balance his schoolwork, he only works during the weekends. 

“I like working since the job is fairly simple and it’s easy money to make,” said Martinez.

Martinez like Gonzalez utilizes many precautions, “To stay safe from COVID-19. Balloon stand workers only work single shifts and we always use hand sanitizer after every customer. I also work at an outdoors, which is safer and wear a face mask,” added Martinez.

Whether the reason for getting a job is saving up for a new car, helping with household bills, or other expenses to manage, these Grizzlies have adapted to their new routine(s) during a new reality.