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Imagine a world where you can graduate from school, by working. A world where at the end of every week, students get a paycheck and school credits. At my high school in Castro Valley, we have that opportunity, but why shouldn’t everybody?
One day, me and my friends were standing around, casually talking during our lunch period, and the question arose “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The unanimous response was a confused, “I don’t know.” At our age, it seems normal not to know what to do with your life. But it shouldn’t be. We need to leave school at the end of our four years having some idea of where our lives are headed, and the school itself should help with that. I don’t want to finish my first semester in law school, already thousands of dollars in debt, and then decide to be a masseuse instead.
School isn’t only an establishment for education, it’s a place to get youth ready for life, for the hardships and complex workings of the adult world. Which, hopefully, would include a job. But with all the occupations, careers, and pursuits out there in the world, young people are completely overwhelmed by choices. My own interests have ranged from Journalism to Morticiary, and it’s constantly changing. It’s almost impossible for me to choose only one thing that I want to dedicate my life to. Which is why I started working. I’ve only been working a small amount of time, and it’s already shaping my view on life and how difficult it can truly be. With a job, my life is packed to the brim with responsibilities that I hardly have enough time for. It’s giving me a real feel of what it’s like out there in the real world, and I feel everyone should get that chance. Juggling a job and other responsibilities is what adults do.
Schools should encourage their students to get jobs by providing extra school credit to the students for the jobs that they have. Getting a straight A’s on a report card is fine and dandy, but a job; socializing, gaining work experience, expanding your network, will help young adults in the long run.
Kids will get jobs solely for money, but at the end of the day, they make more than money — they gain work experience. If school credit was another incentive, many more teens would try to get jobs, and inevitably, gain more work experience. I feel that if schools give credit for being enterprising, we’ll have a more social, more experienced, more ready-to-work sort of generation.
For Youth Radio, I’m Kendrick Calkins.