Zebra Tales
Jared '22

Hands-On Work

In the beginning of this year’s spring term, I had a pretty clear idea of what my summer was going to look like. I had a month-long internship set up with a newspaper in LA and had been accepted to a three-week summer program at Columbia. With COVID getting worse, however, my internship got canceled and Columbia announced that their program would be virtual, which I wasn’t as interested in. Looking for something else to do, my parents told me that I could work for them at their business (they own an apartment complex thirty minutes from our house in Cleveland). I accepted the job offer and, right after school ended, I joined the maintenance team at the complex.
Prior to this summer, I had no experience whatsoever working with my hands, and so my co-workers had to teach me every single part of the job. While I did a bit of painting and flooring (as you can see in the photo below), most of my job consisted of “turning” units, which essentially meant replacing all old components (doors, closets, lights, fans, sinks, bathtubs, window blinds, etc.). While the first couple of weeks were definitely tough, I eventually became more comfortable and started to enjoy the job more and more—I became resourceful in a way that I hadn’t really been before at all.

I can’t say my time at the complex went without any mishaps, however. One day, as I was leaving my lunch break to go back to work, I reached into my pocket to pull out my master key. To my dismay, I found that my pocket was empty. Convincing myself that I had put it in a drawstring bag that I had brought, I spent the rest of the day telling myself that I had no need to worry. After work, I checked the bag and found that the key wasn’t in it. In full-fledged panic, I began to search the complex. About thirty minutes in, my co-worker, who was helping me search, found it on the steps of one of the buildings I had entered in the morning. I actually don’t think I had ever felt so relieved in my life.

Other than my misplacement of the key, the job was a great experience, and I ended up working there for two months. Each day I would play tennis—my main sport—for two hours in the morning and then work for the rest of the day at the property. At the beginning of August, I stopped working to begin preparing for the SAT, which I took at the end of August.