Students pick up jobs to pay for college

PHOTO: Senior Zach Callahan has been working at Nugget Markets as a courtesy clerk for two years.

By Lauren Lee, Staff–

Working tirelessly from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., senior James Leistikow spent his Christmas Day at the University Retirement Community. 

He woke up to an excited family bouncing on his bed early in the morning. They quickly exchanged gifts and he was off to work. Leistikow currently lives with a different family in Davis instead of with his father.

“I’m not used to having a family so it’s weird to [have them],” Leistokow said.

When he got to the retirement community, his shifts as a server were packed back to back with reservations. There were approximately three times the amount of people than usual. 

“It’s hard to see so many other people enjoying time with family or having Christmas Day memories when I’m working but it’s also helpful for me to tell myself that I’m setting myself up for my future,” Lestikow said. 

Leistikow not only cares for the elderly, but he also works as a referee at Davis Legacy Soccer Club. In addition, he takes “odd jobs” like mowing lawns whenever he can.

“I like being busy because my house situation wasn’t that great but now I’m emancipated and 18 so I’m supporting myself,” Leistikow said.

Leistikow chooses to work as much as possible, mainly to pay for college. He recently bought a new car, a feat of his hard work.

“Whatever I need clothes, toiletries, -cool shoes- I gotta buy it for myself. I gotta hustle to make money for that,” Leistikow said.

Leistikow dreams of going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but since it’s a state school, there aren’t any required essays and Leistikow worries that the school may judge him based purely on numbers.

“In ninth grade, I was distracted by my home situation […] I chose not to focus on school as much because I was worried about other things so my grades may have slipped [lower] than they are now because I’m in a better home situation and I can’t explain that. There’s no essay to be like ‘yo look I’m emancipated and working two jobs’, ” Leistikow said.

According to Davis High Career Center Coordinator, Julie Clayton, having a job in high school shows colleges that you learned how to follow instructions, have responsibilities, gain leadership qualities and practice teamwork.

“Having a job in high school looks really good on scholarship applications. It equals having community service or volunteer activities […] also looks good on college applications too,” Clayton said.

Clayton emphasizes that there are great scholarship opportunities for high schoolers who work while in school.

“A specific scholarship I like to promote is the Beeghly-Merritt scholarship. It’s for students at Davis High School that are going to UC Davis,” Clayton said.

The Beeghly-Merritt scholarship is shared by Davis and Woodland high schools and around 11 to18 scholarships are given away every year. The criteria are that the student must be planning on going to UCD, be holding a 3.5 GPA and have worked at a job during high school. The scholarship offers a bit over $14,000.

Senior Zach Callahan is also working hard to pay for college.

During the first semester, Callahan worked as a courtesy clerk at Nugget in addition to his job as a lifeguard for the city of Davis and Aquastarz, a synchronized swimming team. He stopped lifeguarding because there weren’t many jobs when fall came around. 

Callahan started working to pay for Global Glimpse and to supply his love for frequent lunch trips. Currently, his greatest obligation is paying for college.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to make it work. Honestly, it’s something I really stress about. Even if I get into my college of choice, Pomona, the tuition is $80,000 a year and I know my family isn’t getting anything from FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and I know that my family might not be able to help pay for more than a fraction of it,” Callahan said.

Callahan currently works at Nugget most days after school. During first semester, he worked on the weekends as a lifeguard. Callahan estimates that he worked for about 30 hours a week in addition to school.

Within these pact weeks of working, a couple times, Callahan would accidentally show up to the wrong job when he had a shift at the other. “It was embarrassing,” Callahan said.

Callahan plans to work both jobs again in the summer, but is enjoying the extra bit of free time in his second semester. 

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