Eastern York High School junior Chenoa Shenberger has found herself with quite the busy schedule. Not only is her time filled by school and an array of honors English and pre-calc homework, but she also has a part-time job as a waitress, extracurricular activities such as marching band and musical pit, and the essential teenage social life. In addition, she had been working a second part-time job as a sales associate at Burlington Coat Factory.
With a schedule like this, Chenoa is left balancing not only platters of pizza and pasta, but also a full plate of activities.
Where do you work?
I am a waitress at Touch of Italy family restaurant on East Market Street in Hellam.
How long have you worked at Touch of Italy?
I have worked there since February.
How many times a week do you work at the restaurant?
I work about three times: Tuesday, Saturday and every other Sunday.
What is your reason behind having a job while in high school?
I need to pay for extracurriculars, a car, gas, and save up for college.
What are your duties as a waitress?
I take orders, serve food, and make salads and garlic bread. I pour fountain sodas and make cappuccinos and tea, in addition to preparing desserts. I also bus my own tables on non-busy nights. We sweep the floors, vacuum rugs, wash windows, roll silverware, write up the specials and get the checks.
What skills have you acquired as a waitress?
Sometimes when I forget my pad to write down orders, I have to remember everything in my head and who it goes to. Also, the ability to relate to and hold a conversation with my customers may help when I must speak with parents of my future students. (She wants to be a teacher.)
Was it difficult to learn to waitress?
It wasn’t learning to waitress . . . the difficult part was learning the computer system and where everything is in order to get things done in a timely fashion. You don’t want customers waiting for a long time. Getting drinks and putting the order in – everything must be done quickly because otherwise they won’t want to come back.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of your job?
An advantage is that you make a lot of money at one time instead of spread out, and I get to meet a lot of different people with a lot of different stories. Disadvantages? None really except for the walking!
Do you consider it a struggle to balance school, work and extracurriculars?
Sometimes. There are many nights when I must stay up late doing homework because I hadn’t had time to do it earlier, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It keeps me well-rounded.
What is your best stress-juggling method?
The best way is to take a deep breath. If it gets too stressful in the dining room, I walk away, take a deep breath and then keep working.
What advice would you give anyone who would wish to become a waitress?
Don’t be overwhelmed. Just take it step by step and night by night.
In addition, what advice do you give anyone balancing a full plate, just like you?
If it gets to be too much, put your priorities in order and take it one day at a time. That’s what I did, and now I’m not working at Burlington anymore.