Timber Creek Senior Andrea Vanegas doesn’t just worry about grades or college plans. She also has to worry about how she’ll make rent each month.
Adulthood has come upon her suddenly when most teenagers don’t worry about these kinds of responsibilities until they’re out of college. Instead of panicking or losing sight of the future she had planned, Vanegas began to carve another path for herself. She went on a search for a job that would pay enough to help provide enough rent for her and her aunt, and eventually discovered one that fit the requirements – though the hours were not entirely optimal.
School hours last from 9:25 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. for Vanegas, then she ventures home to capture a few hours of sleep: but the day does not end there. Working night shifts at FedEx, transporting boxes onto and off of planes, makes sleep a scarce thing to come by. The usual shift starts at 11 p.m. and ends around 4 or 5 a.m., leaving little time to get home and get perhaps a short nap before readying for school. Some may think that a schedule like this leaves little time for school work, but Vanegas takes the time to do her work and keep up with her grades.
“I don’t know how she does it, how she manages it, because most adults can’t even manage that – especially with the amount of sleep she gets while also keeping up with her work at the same time,” AVID Teacher Christi Boswell, one of her teachers said. “I completely admire her for that – it’s awesome because most people can’t do it.”
Determination is not something that Vanegas has a shortage of. Even over the last holiday breaks, instead of taking the time to catch up on sleep and extra work, she instead took on more shifts. Her hours changed to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., ranging from Sunday to Thursday. Transporting the packages is no easy task either, requiring manual labor and hard work in order to get the job done right.
“She’s talked about how she had all these bruises all on her forearms from when all these boxes fell on her at work,” student Allysia McClung stated when asked about the manual labor that Vanegas experiences during work hours. Bruises are a common thing though, as sometimes hoisting up the heavier boxes require odd placement in order to move them properly.
Despite the long hours, and the little sleep, Vanegas manages to maintain her vibrant personality. She is able to quip jokes at the drop of a hat and smile in almost any situation. The workload she bears is immense, but she finds a way to get the work done and insure her goals are still reachable.
“The desire to be successful. The need to graduate is motivation enough to show up to school, and the need to get out of ‘survival mode’ is what gets me to my jobs.” Andrea Vanegas said when asked what helped her stay motivated. “But above all, my support group is the real key behind my motivation to do anything.”
No matter how difficult our lives are, there are always people around us who find themselves in even more difficult situations – and if Andrea Vanegas can manage to do all of her school work, and work night shifts at FedEx, then surely any other student can manage to do the work given to them. Vanegas is a perfect example of someone who has overcome her odds, and will continue to do so throughout her life. Her determination and hard work has brought her this far, and there’s no doubt that she’ll continue to rise in success.