College is hard enough with trying to balance a schedule of more than 15 hours, making time for relationships and keeping up with the family on top of various meetings and homework. Being a senior with no stable job makes life a bit more difficult.
This summer, I dedicated time to an internship and this altered my regular work schedule. The café that I worked at in downtown Little Rock decided to cut down its business hours and even closed down on Saturdays. This meant I lost my job as soon as I began the fall semester. I only had to work Saturdays so why does this bother me? Well, the café is run by the giant food service provider Aramark. While it can “donate” $700,000 to keep the UCA President’s House renovated, it cannot afford to keep jobs for hardworking people. Aramark did the same thing to another company based in Little Rock, instead of coming up with backup plans to save these jobs. With $12.6 billion in sales last year, they are able to do this. I can’t afford to lose my job. I can’t afford the luxuries that other college students might have. I do not own a car or a smartphone. Instead, I rely on friends and family for transportation. I guess I am being savvy when it comes to saving up, but a college student also needs money to have fun and cover daily needs. Maybe this is a wake-up call for me.
With graduation around the corner, I think twice about looking for a new job. Instead, I have to start focusing on graduate school or plunging into the real world with a real career. I had a part-time at Papa John’s the first semester of my freshman year. Back then I had time for a job. Today, I find myself writing for hours, spending long nights reading women’s literature or scheduling interviews.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the unemployment rate in Arkansas is 8.2 percent. I hear talk about how damaged the economy is and how the U.S. government is in debt as never before. Nowadays the average family needs two incomes in order to sustain itself. Some rely on food stamps and other types of governmental assistance. If this is what awaits me, then I would rather focus on my education in order to have a better lifestyle in the future, not a mediocre one. As for college students, some prefer to take out loans and save the stress of squeezing a part-time job into their already busy schedules. Kudos to those full-time students with full-time jobs who don’t lose their head or stress and have mini-panic attacks as I do.
In the meantime, I will pay my expenses with on-call jobs and be more frugal. My parents taught me right. Their advice over the years could not have come at a better time. Save your money because you never know when you might need it.