After taking a vacation in the Bahamas, going to the movies every weekend and buying a Chevy Cavalier, the realization hit me.
It was time to head out into the scary career world and find a job.
So maybe you didn't take a cruise to the Bahamas over spring break, but I'm sure you understand the language of money and employment.
We want the cash, but not the labor.
You want a car, the new Creed cd or just a Saturday night out with your "buds." But everything from renting DVDs to going out for ice cream costs cash.
You end up rolling the dough wherever you go and whatever you do. Pretty soon your credit card bill is up to $250, and you've been driving the car on empty since the weekend.
And doesn't it seem like payment for all those evening outings is now coming from your own pocket?
Mommy and Daddy aren't as willing to whip out the wallet. Instead, they would rather teach you to value a dollar. You must be accountable for your financial decisions. Heard that one before?
Unfortunately, budgeting doesn't include provided moolah for the fall wardrobe from Abercrombie and Fitch or the newly stocked pair of Vans in the mall window.
I don't know about you, but my idea of budgeting does not include Kmart's blue-light special.
That's when I knew it was time to start looking in the help wanted section of the newspaper and calling job service for openings around town.
Answering phone calls and flipping hamburger patties were now the thoughts beginning to float around in my frazzled brain. Dreams of taking orders and making coffee began to fill my head.
I smelled my calling from the slime line at the Inlet Salmon cannery for summer labor.
What started out as long and miserable hours eventually grew into satisfying work.
Right after I received my first paycheck.
But aside from summer employment, who has time during a school year of six classes, a two-hour basketball practice and two tests each week to make the big bucks?
Almost all teen-agers find themselves caught between financial dilemmas. There's not enough time and not enough money in your bank account, but there are oh so many wants you can't live without.
I've found that to get what you want, sacrifices have to be made and priorities must be put in the right order. That order is what's just right for you and your lifestyle.
A job during school while playing a sport could never work for me, I thought. But with a little extra hard work and less time chatting on the phone, lots of time and opportunity began to open up. It became possible to have a part-time job and still finish my chemistry equations for Friday's test.
Spending even a few extra minutes before school to finish your vocab homework can provide a door of golden possibilities. Possibilities of getting that A you always wanted and working at Blockbuster in the evenings to earn some green bills.
No one said it's gonna be easy though. We've got a lot to learn and to get a little, it might take giving a little. You've gotta choose what's most vital for your schedule, your personality and your life.
We're pretty much adults now. Nine more months and we're all our own. Thrown out in the world to make choices and hope they are the best. Prepare yourself now. Set out a plan of what's most significant to you and what you want.
Shamra Bauder is a senior at Kenai Central High School who has worked as an intern at the Peninsula Clarion.
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