Voice: Carson Aden

One individual who used the pandemic as a way to escape their comfort zone is Junior Carson Aden. Over the last six months, Aden has been balancing distance learning along with extracurricular activities, all while working two different jobs.

Will Hite and Sam Basich

This past year people of all age groups have been completely thrown off their routines, and unable to do many of their favorite activities due to the COVID-19 lockdown. More often than not, people have found themselves aimlessly wandering around their homes with nothing to do, feeling very bored and unfulfilled. However, a select few individuals have used the pandemic as a chance to try new things and climb out of their comfort zone with all this extra time on their hands.

One individual who used the pandemic as a way to escape their comfort zone is Junior Carson Aden. Over the last six months, Aden has been balancing distance learning along with extracurricular activities, all while working two different jobs. He has been working at Safeway, as well as Caprara’s Pizzeria in Penngrove. But why take on such a challenge, especially in the midst of so many other stressors? Ultimately, as Aden explains, he was working to become more prepared. 

“I decided to take two jobs in order to fill my time and make some money. Along with that I wanted to gain experience for my future endeavors, said Aden. “With the two jobs, I was bringing in a good amount of money. Also, I got to meet so many new people and learned real-world skills.”

A beneficial experience is exactly what Aden’s parents wanted for him, but they had differing opinions on what that meant. Both parents encouraged his extracurricular growth but reminded him of his pre-existing extracurricular commitments in sports and social life. 

“My dad always tells me that experiences build character, so he thought it was great for me. My mom would’ve preferred if I only worked one because I was never home to see her,” Aden said.

Clearly, there are pros and cons to working as much as Aden. The monotony of working around the clock in addition to balancing schoolwork and family life has an exhausting physical cost, in addition to being a time-consuming activity. 

“The negatives of two jobs is the time. Every weekend I was busy, and usually working 5-6 days a week. I started my homework at around 10-11 every night,” said Aden.

To this, Aden has his teachers to thank. Though he knows the personal commitment and frequent sacrifices required, he also recognizes and appreciates the kindness shown by his teachers throughout his whole endeavor. 

“My time management skills are subpar, but my teachers were very lenient with late work. I was very thankful for their understanding of students turning in work late. I didn’t start it in the day because after zoom I would eat then workout, play basketball and then go to work,” Aden said.

Though both jobs were demanding, Aden notes that he appreciated the differences of each that gave him two unique, separate experiences.

“At Safeway, I felt as if I was just a robot, but their hiring process was just a quick interview, resulting in my hiring. At Caprara’s, the owners called me up to hire me, as I had applied just before COVID. Because of COVID, I was not hired until September, but my pizza job was a lot more exciting because it was a family business, and a lot more friendly.” Aden said.

Ultimately, as Aden has seen firsthand, there are some excellent experiences to be gained through taking on new challenges, even if it means making many sacrifices. At the very least, adding a new, exciting part to his everyday routine helped Aden become a more efficient and prepared person when he tackles those same challenges in years to come.