It was just another Saturday. Her eyes could barely stay open, and her head continued to throb. It felt as if a rubber band was tightening around her brain. After a long day of making and serving boba, junior Ivy Tran wanted nothing more than to take a long nap on her bed, but she knew her night was far from over as a pile of homework on her desk awaited her return.
When the pandemic first emerged, Tran’s family faced financial struggles. Witnessing her family struggle prompted Tran’s urge to help. Although her parents were fearful for her health, she was still determined to assist her family, resulting in her applying to and getting a job at Sharetea, a boba chain. After notifying her parents about her new job at Sharetea, they eventually allowed her to work.
“Most of my family became temporarily unemployed,” Tran said. “And knowing the virus affects the elderly the most, I felt guilty and was worried, so I tried to help out and decided to get a job.”
Tran’s schedule ranges from four to nine hours throughout the week, as well as switching among three different Sharetea locations weekly. As more workers quit their jobs, she and her co-workers were overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities, worsening her anxiety when interacting with customers.
“Everyone that’s currently working is much more cautious, but we’re all trying to maintain our health,” Tran said. “It just puts more weight onto my heart, and I am scared that I might accidentally catch the virus and bring it home. But I get tested monthly or bimonthly just to stay safe.”
Even with precautions, there are still moments where Tran regrets taking on the job in the midst of a worsening pandemic. In addition, the stress from school has also made her feel as if quitting would be the best solution for her.
“It was still hard to maintain my grades and work,” Tran said. “Sometimes, I felt like, ‘I should just lose the job and focus on myself and grades.’ When I see that L.A. has the most COVID cases, the customers scare me more, and I doubt my decision.”
However, Tran eventually remembers that her family has constantly supported her, and giving up would not be an answer. Tran understands that she now has a responsibility and an important role to assist her family.
“My parents raised me, and since I’m still young, I can’t do much for them, so I’ll try to do my best in what I can right now,” Tran said. “My parents are important to me. Even through tough times and when I act unreasonably, they still care for me, and I want to do the same for them.”