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'Serving the community is worth teetering balancing act'

Young Voices is a platform for younger people to describe their lives and the changes around them.

The hustle and bustle of school life is the sole focus of teenage years for many students, writes Grace Lawlor.

For me this is not the case. In preparation for leaving school, I have chosen to take on a part-time job in the heart of our community - at the local post office. 

Conveniently situated just a minute’s walk from Hyndland Secondary, I often find myself heading straight for stacks of parcels rather than school books when the school day ends.

Having a part-time job has given me useful experience of the workplace and of being at the centre of such a tight-knit community. 

Whether chatting with elderly customers who may have no other outlet currently, or running a free delivery service for vulnerable people during lockdown, I have a sense of fulfilment that is shaping my character. 

Additionally, that necessary step towards financial independence helps me learn the value of money which is essential in order to respect what I have and instil a strong work ethic.

Along with the benefits of having a part-time job alongside your education, there are also downsides to these busy hours. 

The school day begins at 9am, for most pupils a time of yawns and sleepy eyes. For myself, there are customers requiring newspapers and parcels so I’m up before sunrise, ready for the day. 

Hyndland Secondary School
Hyndland Secondary School

With the shop frequently used by schoolchildren during lunchtime, I rush out of class at the bell ready to serve lunches to a flood of my peers. Often, I myself do not have time to eat. 

When I return home from an after-school or weekend shift, I long to curl up in my bed. However, I have the same school workload as everyone else – just less time in which to do it.

Whether chatting with elderly customers who may have no other outlet currently, or running a free delivery service for vulnerable people during lockdown, I have a sense of fulfilment that is shaping my character

Grace Lawlor

Many pupils take on jobs outwith school life, and the lack of leeway in the work-school balance can be incredibly draining. 

It feels difficult to produce work that reaches my full potential when I am longing for a nap or simply just five minutes to breathe. 

Ultimately, the honed social and time management skills, the extra pocket money and, most importantly, the rewarding feeling of serving the community are worth the teetering balancing act.

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