Baristas to tutors: students who work

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From lifeguards to tutors, Northwood students balance their part-time jobs with their rigorous classes.

William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center

Junior Neil Chaudhry has been swimming since he was 5, so it’s not a surprise that he has a summer job as a lifeguard at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center next to Irvine High School. After learning about the job from a classmate who encouraged him to apply, Chaudhry passed the interview and was hired.

“It’s nice to be out in the sun in the summer. I like the being outside and the pool. I had to start work at 5:30 a.m. and go until 10:30 a.m. but it was really peaceful and quiet,” Chaudhry said. “We monitor the pools, make sure everyone follows the rules, and we set up and make sure the facilities are clean.”


Senior Kaylie Jacobs has always wanted to work at Ruby’s Diner since she was a little girl, and she got a job as a hostess at their Irvine Spectrum location in April 2017. She works with about 14 other people, typically on weekends and Friday nights.

“I literally harassed Ruby’s for two months, got an interview and they offered me the job on the spot,” Jacobs said. “I’m a hostess, so my main job is to seat people, and sometimes I help run the food out to tables or make shakes. The best part is definitely my coworkers because sometimes I get overwhelmed and my coworkers are there and make me happy and tell funny jokes.”


Senior Donya Ardalan works at Mochi at the cash register and in food preparation for five hours every night with four to five other people. Her favorite perk of the job is free food, especially the cream puffs. Previously, Ardalan worked at Starbucks for six months, but started working at Mochi three weeks ago.

“I used the app Indeed, and I applied to a bunch of places that had barista experience needed. I got an interview at Mochi and then they hired me,” Ardalan said. “The most memorable thing that happened was when someone dropped an entire tray of cream puffs on the floor when they tripped.”

Tapioca Express

Senior Daniel Chung works three to four afterschool shifts per week at Tapioca Express on Jeffrey, where he takes customers’ orders, prepares boba drinks and cooks popcorn chicken. He has had this job since January, after applying on the spot.

“The best part of my job is the atmosphere; it’s super chill. All the workers are super nice. I was really lucky to get this job,” Chung said. “Apparently, this girl kept trying to talk to me and I kept trying to focus. By the time I got the order out and she left, my coworker asked ‘Oh, did you know that she hit on you?’ because I had no idea.”


Junior Ashley Shim tutors and grades at the Kumon of Central Irvine, working with kids four hours a week on Mondays and Saturdays since last July. After learning about potential jobs from the Irvine Youth Employment Center, she applied online and was accepted.

“The best part is working with the little kids because they’re really sweet and really like to listen to me,” Shim said. “But one time, I was grading and this little kid came up to me. He said, ‘Why are you wearing glasses?’ I said, ‘Because my eyesight is bad.’ He got 60 percent on his test and started crying and yelling at me. He said, ‘Oh, your eyesight is bad. That’s why you didn’t grade it well.’”


Senior Chris Lee works as a barista at the Pavilions Starbucks, and he freelances as a piano tuner and tutor. After getting a work permit from Northwood in October, he filled out an application and received a response.

“The opportunity presented itself and I really like coffee so it just seemed kind of right to do it at the time. I went to the interview in a suit and tie and kept it really professional. I’m the Starbucks closer so I work from the afternoon until 9 pm. I close up at about 8 and I spend an hour cleaning and making sure everything’s ready for the person in the morning—clearing out the pastry case and making all the syrups,” Lee said. “Different people order different things and have different preferences. It’s nice to see how people try to show their individuality in something as arbitrary as coffee”