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Past experience

Posted: November 5, 2015 11:28 a.m.
Updated: November 6, 2015 1:00 a.m.
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Do you remember what is was like at 15? You do not want to be considered a child, but you do not yet qualify for all of the adult endeavors in life. Everyone has been stuck at this awkward stage. You are dying to get a job, but you lack the necessary experience.

I have spent hours at a time looking for jobs in my area, and even some online freelancing websites. While I was able to find a few odd jobs, not many people needed my help on a regular basis. A majority of my rejections were based on my lack of experience. I contacted three local establishments requesting a job, and every single one told me that I needed to come back when I had more experience or when I turned 16.

I live in the middle of nowhere, and I mean that. Trees surround my house on a rural spot of land in Kershaw County. I have only one store near me, which has already declined my offer to work year round. The only experience I have is raking yards for my neighbors who are within walking distance of my home. Sadly, this type of work is frowned upon when placed on a resume or application as past experience.

My frustration, much like that of any other person on the job search, shows when I am sent out the door of each prospective employer due to this lack of experience. There are some points when I want to just scream. How do you expect me to get an experience if no one will give me a chance?

I, like many other teenagers, find it very difficult to talk their parents into purchasing the next big thing out on the market, much less a car or truck. I am continually told I do not understand the value of a dollar. As a determined 15-year-old, I am prepared to admit children ask adults for a lot. We may not always understand the value of the dollar we spend, but the best way to learn is to earn it ourselves. I want to gain experience, and I am willing to learn; however, I don’t know where to turn.

As teenagers, we are put under a lot of pressure to learn responsibility and gain our own independence, but we are not given the chance to learn the ropes, even for very minor jobs. If adults want this generation to grow into more accountable individuals, then they must give us the chance to learn responsibility and gain the necessary experience through job opportunities.

(Ashley Baker is a sophomore at North Central High School; co-editor of the school’s yearbook,

The Shield; and one of several high school columnists for the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)

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