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Some Students, Boarding and Day, Juggle Jobs and Classes

A few Phillips Academy students are not following Blue Book recommendations and, strangely, are profiting. Although the Blue Book discourages off-campus employment, especially for boarders, some students have found ways to balance both Phillips Academy and a paid job. Sascha Strand ’10, a new Upper boarder, worked during fall term as a dishwasher for an Italian restaurant in Maine. He began working there when he attended Exeter’s summer session and continued after beginning at PA. Strand’s grandfather lives near the restaurant, and the new boarder worked there while visiting for the weekend. Strand usually worked from midnight to 2 a.m. on Friday nights and from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays. “I would try to work Saturday night so [the other dishwashers] could get a break,” said Strand. His work included washing dishes, cleaning the restaurant and waiting tables. Strand went to work on-call, when the owners expected a particular rush or when their regular dishwasher wanted a night off. Strand stopped working because the restaurant closed for the winter around Thanksgiving, but he will not continue working there when it reopens in the spring because he believes they can find more staff. At times, Strand said it was difficult to establish a balance between work and school. The restaurant would sometimes call Strand on a Wednesday and ask him to work that weekend. Over the course of the school year, Strand worked about four or five weekends. “It was really too sporadic,” Strand said. “There comes a point, Andover-wise, where you have to be here for the weekend.” Despite the challenges of transportation, low wages and late nights, Strand enjoyed his job. “It’s bizarrely therapeutic, after doing work behind a desk, to be able to go and scrub a floor, being a full-time student and 100 miles away. I never did this out of a sense of obligation,” he said. “There’s nothing I would have rather done in that time.” Lily Shaffer ’10, a day student, works as an assistant first grade religion school teacher on Sundays at her temple, Shir Tikzah, in Winchester, Mass. Shaffer said she teaches because of her desire to spiritually reconnect to a place that she loves. “This is my way to stay in touch with my temple,” said Shaffer, who has attended Hebrew school since she was in first grade. “There definitely hasn’t been a moment where my schoolwork and job conflict. On Saturday nights though, I do find myself coming home earlier. I don’t really sleepover this year because I have to be at work. I do miss sleeping in on Sundays.” Matthew Kelley ’10, another day student, works at Hollister in the Rockingham Mall. “I was shopping in Hollister, and this middle-aged guy comes up to me,” Kelley said. “I was really creeped out at first, but then he asked me if I wanted to work [there].” “I had always needed [a job] for college,” he said. “It was really hard to find a job [that required you to come] only once or twice a week, so I took [it].” Kelley initially found balancing schoolwork and his work at Hollister problematic. “It was really annoying at first because my hours were really sporadic. They [used to have] call-ins, where you call an hour beforehand, and you find out if you’re working [that day].” Victoria Seman ’09 works as a Special Olympics swim coach and a babysitter. Seman started coaching as part of a community service program at her old school. She wanted to continue coaching after transferring to Phillips Academy as a Lower. Seman is only paid $35 each year for about 40 weeks of work for the Special Olympics. Seman usually babysits with a family friend or an old teacher and mostly works on weekends. “I’ve always worked with kids, so it made sense to babysit,” she said. Faculty members like Aya Murata, Pine Knoll Cluster Dean, often hire both boarding and day students for babysitting. Murata said, “The hours of babysitting totally depend on what I’m doing. I have a pool of kids who I know can babysit, both day and boarding.” She added, “You know the kids who are interested in small children and don’t mind making a little money on the side.”