I’ve been a server for over a year now—with a few breaks in between jobs for school purposes. This job isn’t my favorite thing, of course, I mean, who dreams of fake smiling and relying on the generosity of others to be able to live comfortably? The pay isn’t always good, but when it’s good it’s addicting.
Making over 25 dollars an hour for barely doing anything is great, but it can be emotionally draining dealing with guests, co-workers and leadership staff in the industry. It feels like every restaurant has the same characters and the same problems, but I will keep going back for the quick cash.
This will be my first time in college working a real job during the academic year. I have had jobs since I was legally able to, but now it feels like my responsibilities are piling up. Unfortunately though, making money is kind of essential so I can’t drop this job to have more fun with friends during my senior year. I’ve been insanely lucky to make it so far in college without having to work a job like this during the semester, but senior fall is so overwhelming in itself, I don’t feel prepared to have the stressor of money on me.
Applying to law school is frightening for the same reason: money. I want to go somewhere prestigious and with name recognition if I can and yet money is on my mind. But, I cannot go to a school that gives me no money and is too academically rigorous to allow me enough free time for a job. I am not one of the lucky few who isn’t anxious about paying for school, my parents are helping with housing and school for undergrad, but after this, I am on my own.
I am insanely grateful for my parents, as they were able to put my sister and I both through undergrad without burdening us with finances and debt, but the fear of finally having to be self-sufficient is really hitting now.
Food is so expensive. Living is so expensive. 20 dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to when I had an allowance. If you see me sneaking food out of a dining hall, mind your business. If you have guest swipes to give, swipe me in. I am a sucker for free meals and also new friends.
Being at a point in your life when you have to budget for your vices—caffeine and alcohol for me—is so strange. I am still childish in that I want to be reckless and stupid and go to bars and clubs and events every weekend, but I am adult enough to know my bank account may not be as down for it all as I am.
The practice of putting away money in my savings account is my way of planning for the future, but there’s an underlying hope there still that I will never have to touch it. But what is the purpose of making money if not spending it on living? I think now having peace of mind and a bit of a financial cushion is worth more than I expected it to be.
Balance every day between treating yourself and saving, this is better said than done—as I spent a lot on pre-ordered gluten-free donuts and recently invested in a blazer from Anthropologie. I am still learning this skill, but don’t deprive yourself of life’s little joys just because there’s never enough money in the world to ease your anxieties.
I’ve also had a few unpaid internships which I don’t recommend ever doing if you can avoid it. Days working on something unpaid can feel like a waste when right down the street is at least an easy 200 bucks every shift. If it’s unavoidable, remind yourself that experience is worth something similar to money, it is similar to classes but more valuable to future employers or grad school admissions officers. So if you have to get an unpaid internship, make sure it’ll be worth your time (and lost money) in the future.
If it isn’t obvious already, I don’t have much time between my job, unpaid internship, classes, law school application prep and anxiety to come up with any well-thought-out articles this week. But hey, I don’t get paid for this!