Being Both a Student and a Essential Worker


Valery L

Valery Lenti-Navarro, Editor

While being thrown into a global pandemic on the eve of my 18th birthday was not how I imagined my year to go, much less my very last year of high school. Experiences such as prom and graduation have quickly become a faraway stretch from reality, but one thing that has been constant until recently has been making caramel ice lattes. Being both a student and an essential worker during this pandemic has been a big reflective experience. While quite frankly I don’t believe my job as an employee at Dunkin’ Donuts is considered essential, but that could be up for debate. Other students I’ve had the chance to talk with about this have told me about the struggle of balancing schoolwork, family commitments, and your own health.

“I’ve had to start bringing my laptop to work just so I don’t fall behind,” said high school senior Jasmine Patino.

Patino has been working at a food establishment through their drive-through, while they are under strict guidelines in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees can’t help but be concerned about their safety. This goes between one’s self, as they could be bringing illness back to their households or even to other customers without knowing.

We can both agree we have gained a lot of respect for the healthcare workers served, as many of them don’t have time in between hospital shifts to cook a meal or make their own coffee. Often it feels like we are doing a public service by simply doing our job, as I’ve even gotten told by customers, they are thankful for us.

“While our jobs aren’t usually deemed super important pre-corona, the same people who would agree against raising our pay are the ones depending on us,” said Patino.