From full time student to full time worker

Photo of two chickens

My name is Alicia and I have worked in the poultry farms for over 2 years now. I work there part time and I am a full time student. Since the start of the pandemic in terms of work nothing has severely changed. We have always used masks and always had to disinfect our shoes before entering the farm. However, my work hours changed a lot. Since a lot of people were getting sick rather often. I had to start covering for them. Thankfully I did not get sick at all. But I had to cover for many people who were getting sick and I started to not have a single day off for 2 months. Our workdays are like 9 to 10 hours a day.

School was also out and since it was all online, I was not asked but rather expected to work more. Whenever I am not in a class I am at work. I have been working throughout the week and on the weekends, which is now what I should be doing as a part-time worker.

It was not too difficult to adjust to the new life of the pandemic. Something that I think is funny is how people, especially where I live it is so conservative, but people complain about wearing their masks for a few minutes and I think it is funny that at my job I had to wear a mask the entire day, before the pandemic, while we walked back and forth throughout the chicken houses. And of course, it was hot, but it was something funny that I noticed.

Something that I mentioned before was how I worked a lot more but because of the stress from focusing on learning online while picking up more hours at work I had to really pay attention to my own mental health. I started to draw much more than before. I started to draw on a new software. My laptop became indispensable to me. I use it for school all the time and before I did use it but not as much. I feel like without my laptop I would not be able to enjoy my time like I do now. I enjoy how creative I can be when I am drawing, and I can do whatever I feel like doing in that moment. It is relaxing and helps me destress. It is also very important to me to have that time of relaxation because I doubt, I am going to stop working as much anytime soon.

I think the “end” to the pandemic is complicated. People are still going out everywhere. They do not seem to think of the consequences. They spread the virus around easily and it keeps production down and it seems like I should be working less but im not the one getting sick thankfully, so I am working much much more. They do not seem to realize that their constant going out and being reckless directly affects the lives of others. And then there are those who will not wear their masks at all and it just seems like there is no real end any time soon.

This story is part of a Agricultural Workers collection.