She’s lovin’ it

A day in the life of: Shayna Buker


Quincey Epley

Sophomore Shayna Buker cheerfully hands a customer their change at the Love’s McDonald’s. Shayna says often customers are very rude, but she always smiles and acts like the bigger person.

For most high school students, the typical day after class involves sports practice, play practice, musical practice, time at home, doing homework, or a few hours of work. Sophomore Shayna Buker is an exception. After school, she goes home and gets ready to work a shift at McDonald’s lasting almost as long as her school day. She works at the Love’s McDonald’s from 5-11 almost every day and many nights is kept on the clock even later.

Buker started working at the end of her freshman year, as soon as she was old enough to get hired. “It was fully my choice to work. I didn’t want to be so dependent, I wanted to always have money,” she said. Sometimes, her paycheck is used to do fun things, while sometimes it helps with food and groceries for her family. “I save up a lot. I always make sure half the money goes into savings to keep me from being broke if anything unexpected happens in the future,” she said.

Balancing a day with almost equal hours of work and school is an exhausting feat that many high schoolers have not experienced. “I try to get most of my homework done at school. When I’m at school I’m in the learning mindset and have motivation to get school things done,” Buker said. If she gets her work done at school, she doesn’t have to worry about finishing in the dark hours of the night after a long shift. However, if she can’t get all of her schoolwork done before work, she still doesn’t let it slip. Buker doesn’t want to fall behind in school because she knows how hard it is to catch up. “Grades are important, and I know if I want a better job than I have now they look at grades,” she said.

After a shift that runs into the late night hours, it can be very difficult to wake up and go to school. “It’s a struggle, but I have to motivate myself by thinking of reasons to get up. I get up because I like the people I see at school and I like most of my classes. Being in class isn’t as bad as people think it is, and it’s important to show up even when it’s hard,” she said. With the typical life of a high school student, plus a fast-paced job, Buker deals with her fair share of stress and frustrations. “There’s days when I have a bad day at school and then have to go into work. Then work usually doesn’t go well. My focus is off, so I still have homework to do after work which is stressful. I just keep getting more and more frustrated throughout the day,” she said.

Being so dedicated to two different areas of life can lead to misunderstanding. Buker says some of her managers at work and teachers at school have trouble understanding that she has a life outside of each avenue. “It’s hard for them to look at things from a different perspective,” she said. In addition to this, many students simply don’t understand how tough it is to spend 40 hours a week in both school and at work. “It’s really tough doing what I do. Working at McDonald’s is taken for granted and people really don’t respect you if you work there. They think all you’re good for is serving them,” Buker said. “The work is a lot harder than people think. “ She often is in the position of working the drive-thru, being a runner, and working the front counter all at once. Things get very hectic when this is the case, and she still has to be incredibly polite with every customer.

The long nights, exhausted mornings, and stressful juggling of time are hard, but these things don’t pull Buker off task. “If you start to back out of things, it eventually leads to completely giving up. This won’t allow you to get where you want to go or be successful, and I believe everyone should strive for success,” she said. At work, she keeps people together, and keeps everything calm and sorted out.

Buker has learned to be the bigger person when dealing with customers and coworkers and has learned how to keep her cool in tough situations. “I always try to have a positive outlook on life and be proud of myself and how I’m doing in my life,” Buker said. At 15, she’s consistent and hardworking both at work and in school; she always puts her best effort forward in both places. “I feel accomplished for keeping up in school. Not many high schoolers do exactly what I do. When I buy myself things, I feel accomplished because I know I worked hard for it,” Buker said.