Humans of Lee: Up Close and Personal with Jacob Nichols


Junior year is commonly called the hardest year of a student’s high school career. The work load seems to be higher, especially with all the end of course tests at the end of the year. While the pressure is already increased, it can be even more difficult when you are involved in after school activities and work into late hours of the night. Jacob Nichols (11) proves that balancing these activities is possible, as he is involved in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC), and has an after school job.

“I have been working at Chick-Fil-A for about a year now,” Nichols said. “On school days I usually work about 7 or 8 hours after beginning work at 5. When we’re not in school, like on weekends or breaks, my shifts average at 10-12 hours with a 1 hour break.”

Spending a lot of time at work might make employees dislike their jobs, but Nichols has not grown tired of working.

“Having to be out late when I have a lot of homework is hard,” Nichols said, “but there are some good things about my job, like getting money and the valuable lessons I have learned.”

Nichols is proud of the experiences he has had at his job, and how they are shaping him to become a better person.

“This job has taught me many things, like how punctuality is something you’ll always need in life, and that a sense of urgency is key, the key to success.” Nichols said. “You also learn how each second matters.”

Having a job while still in high school helps teenagers build up the skills they will need to be successful in the future.

“I don’t see myself working at Chick-Fil-A permanently,” Nichols said, “but for now I’d like to stay where I’m at and work my way up.”

When Nichols has a task, he always puts 100% into it. Even when having to complete online training courses for work, homework for his AP classes, and after school activities for NJROTC all at once, he still puts in the maximum effort he can for all three.

“I usually have a few hours before I go to work [to complete tasks], as well as Sundays off,” Nichols said. “Some weeks I have more time off than others.”

Nichols is enrolled in AP United States History and AP Environmental Science, which both require a lot of rigor and attentiveness. He ensures that his homework is done before taking part in after school activities.

NJROTC is something that Nichols has been doing since his freshman year, and has put a lot of time into doing activities with the battalion.

“My proper title in NJROTC is Cadet Ensign Nichols, but it can be abbreviated as O-1.”

Ensign in NJROTC is five steps away from the top rank of Commanding Officer. Although it seems really close in rank, it takes a lot hard work and determination to convince the staff and instructors that the cadet is worthy of the top rank.

“I knew since 7th grade that i was going to do NJROTC,” Nichols said. “It was something I’ve heard about from my dad forever. He pushed me to do the program because it was something he was unable to do. He was shot in the eye with a BB gun when he was younger, which made him unable to chase his dreams of being a pilot in the military.”

Nichols has a close relationship with his father, which is a reason why he decided to follow his advice.

“He knew NJROTC would be the best place to start for an ROTC scholarship, and I was interested in the military idea along with the uniforms,” Nichols said. “I figured I see what it was like, and it was something I became really passionate about.”

With his junior year coming to an end, Nichols has been showing more dedication in order to get as high of a rank as he can.

“I’m really hoping to be one of the three biggest ranks in NJROTC,” Nichols said. “I have worked really hard to get to where I am, but with more work I can go even higher to where I want to be. I will find out closer to the end of the school year what rank I will be for my senior year.”

Growing up is a difficult task, and even harder when there is so much happening at once. Nichols proves it is possible to be successful, even when there might be too much on a students plate.