Learning The Value Of My Education This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   This past summer I worked for a contractor doing construction work in Manhattan. I worked eight hours a day, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. I woke up at 5:30 to catch the train from the Bronx down to Houston Street in lower Manhattan.

I worked on a building that was built in the 1880s. The interior was dilapidated and our work consisted of demolishing it and then renovating it. At first, my job was knocking down the bricks and mortar and tearing up the old floors. After this, I had to take all the old bricks and other garbage and load them into garbage pails. Since the elevator hadn't been installed, I carried the garbage pails down six flights of stairs. There was a lot of garbage and going up and down the stairs was exhausting, especially in the 90-degree heat. Although everyone was working hard, I often felt I was doing the hardest work because I was the youngest. I felt I was getting paid the least for doing the most.

When it came time to renovate the building, a truckload of materials came every day. I had to carry lumber continuously and 64-pound buckets of joint compound up the stairs. A truck with a hydraulic lift brought larger materials (such as 2 x 4's and sheetrock) up to the window where we unloaded it. I had to move these materials from the flat bed of the truck onto the lift. All this material came in bundles, so I would usually have to unload for an hour straight, sometimes longer.

Because of the work I was doing and because I had to wake up so early, I was dead tired by the time I got home at 4:15. While most of my friends were playing ball and swimming, I was breaking my back every day. The job was strenuous and difficult, but it made me appreciate the money I worked so hard for. I learned that being a manual laborer is not easy. My summer job was a wake-up call for me in terms of being serious about school. I now appreciate and realize how truly valuable my education is. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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