Student employees’ experiences with NTI


Amy Nagra (10, HSU) pours popcorn for a customer. Photo by Michelle Quan.

Michelle Quan



Many Manual students are already struggling with NTI as is, but some have also chosen to take on a job along with school. Add that to other after-school activities, sports, or chores at home, a job can completely change students schedules and how they handle their workload.

For some students, a job has made NTI an especially difficult transition for them.

“Having to try to like schedule out the amount of work I’m getting at once has been kind of overwhelming,” Amy Nagra (10, HSU) said. Along with working at various concession stands for baseball parks since she was 14, Nagra takes AP classes and is involved in multiple clubs. 

“In person, I think it was easier to just have a Study Skills and go. So now, I have to do it early because it’s like, ‘I can’t save it for Tuesday because I have a 4 hour shift that day,’” Nagra added. She has now found it easier to schedule everything, but there are still many stressful days because of so much work. 

For others, NTI has made it easier to balance between a job and school.

“Honestly, [NTI is] easier because if I have work due, and I have a break during when I work, I can just pull out my laptop and finish it,” Nick Hoetker (10, HSU) said. 

With two jobs at Iceland and McAlister’s, it can be a bit stressful for Hoetker, especially with much of NTI work being due at the same time. But, compared to his experience with working at Iceland during in-person school, he’s glad he doesn’t have to deal with paper and worrying about keeping it safe to turn it in the next day. Google Classroom makes it easier for him to make sure everything is in on time. 

While NTI has made completing schoolwork easier for some students with jobs, the job itself can also be very time-consuming.

Without a job, Fadlan Sheikh (12, MST) explains that life would be easier, and he’d have more free time to slack off and practice poetry, as he dreams of becoming the Asian Kendrick Lamar.

Most of Sheikh’s time is spent working on college applications, scholarships, schoolwork, and tutoring in his job at Kumon. “I just got into it  senior year. So, it’s like, you know what, I have time to do my work. And when all my work is done, my life is devoid of meaning,” Sheikh said. 

On weekdays when student employees are scheduled to work, practically the entire day can be taken up by working.  

“Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough,” Rafael Mediodia (11, VA) said, despite working five hour shifts as a cashier at Michaels three days a week after school. When he is finished with his job, he goes home to do homework and talks to friends.

Mediodia started working at Michaels this school year and has found the job very enjoyable, and NTI has helped him manage his work much easier, which he believes would be more difficult if in-person instruction returns.