Students work through pandemic

Students find way to stay busy during quarantine

Trying to find ways to make some money, juniors Rogelio Rodriguez and Jorge Zavala begin in construction through family connection. Rodriquez’s family friend got him the job, while Zavala’s father got him the job. Both Zavala and Rodriguez needed work in order to have something to do. It helped that pay came along with it.

“I was bored and I told my dad I wanted to work,” Rodriguez said, “and he sent me with him [his dad’s friend].”

Zavala had a very similar situation. His dad offered for him to tag along at his work.

“There was nothing else to do and my dad told me to go to work with him,” Zavala said. “I didn’t have another choice, so I went.”

According to Rodriguez, he has very long days, where he likely comes home sweaty and tired.

“I don’t like how it’s very hot and fast-paced,” Rodriguez said. “I would mainly do walls and lift them.”

Rodrigez works in framing for his company. According to, framing carpenters build and repair structures made of wood or wood products. They typically begin work early in a project, constructing what becomes the framework for the rest of the building.

“I was a framer with one of my dad’s friends. Framing is basically the skeleton of the house, all the woodwork, the walls, and the ceilings,” Rodriguez said.

Both Rodriguez and Zaval wanted to start working for money. According to Rodriguez, the faster you work and they better you do, the higher the pay.

“There was really nothing enjoyable about it,” Zavala said, “standing in the heat for several hours.”

Since Zavala isn’t old enough, he is not able to help with the actual framing. Instead, he helps with cleaning up and making sure the workers have everything they need.

“I didn’t do anything heavy, because I’m being monitored, so I couldn’t do anything like they did because they’re experienced.” Zavala said. “I do a lot of cleanup and anything they needed when they were on top, that’s when I would come in. If they needed wood or certain measurements, that would be what I did.”

Even during the pandemic, Rodriguez still manages to juggle work and school.

“After work, whenever we’re finished I get home and have a few hours to do my homework,” Rodriguez said. “I work Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”

Now that school has resumed, Zavala is on a blended schedule but does not work construction anymore, he’s only focusing on school, unlike Rodriguez. Over quarantine though, he was very busy.

“We start at 8:00 a.m., and then at 12:00 p.m. we have a lunch break, then we would start packing everything up at 5:30 p.m., then get home around 6:00 p.m.,” Zavala said.

Just like any other job, construction work allows connections through co-workers.

“I go fishing with them [his co-workers] a lot and I hang out with them during the weekends and after work sometimes,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has also learned some lessons along the way.

“I’ve learned,” he said, “to always be on time and never say no.”