Why College Students Can't Afford College

Why College Students Can't Afford College

Why it's impossible to earn a living as a student in the US
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In recent months, I've discovered that it's nearly impossible for a college student to make a living. I've been working minimum wage jobs since I started school at the University of the Pacific two years ago. I live on my own, pay my own rent, buy my own house supplies, pay my own phone bill, the works. While I'm sure plenty of students in the US do this as well, I know literally none at my university. I've never really had anyone to empathize or to go through it with. For the first couple semesters, I was doing okay. Due to the loans I'm taking out for school, I get a refund of almost two thousand dollars at the beginning of each semester. Though I have made a payment on my loans with some of that money, for the most part it acts as a buffer of extra money for when my minimum wage paycheck isn't cutting it for that week or that month. However, by the end of last semester, that money was long gone and I was once again relying solely on the money I get from my job at Payless Shoesource every week. This is not doable.

Since the semester ended, I've been scraping and clawing to get by with enough food to eat for the week, gas for my car, and enough money saved from each paycheck to be able to fork out rent at the end of the month. Aside from just paying for the essentials, being able to go out every now and then is crucial for someone who basically spends 80%-85% of their time in a single room with only a bed as a seating area; in other words, I need to get out.

Since discovering how impossible it is to live off a minimum wage job where I only get about 20-26 hours per week, I've been scouring the area for a new job with the same flexibility to work around my school schedule in the Fall but that also pays a bit more than $10.50 per hour. Little did I know, this was even more impossible.

I've applied to a total of around fifty jobs in the past two months. My focus when applying for these jobs was an entry level position in which the base pay is higher than minimum wage, anywhere from $12.00 per hour or above. After searching through a multitude of job sites, creating a LinkedIn account and getting their job search app, and Googling every possible job avenue I could think of in my area, do you know how many calls I've gotten back? Four. Of those four, I turned out to not be eligible for two of them.

The reason for this is primarily that entry level or non-retail/food service jobs require either multiple years of experience in that field and/or a completely open schedule in which you can work 9-5 every weekday. This is not a plausible reality for a student. Firstly, where and when were we supposed to gain years of experience in a relatively specific job field when we're still in school? I need someone to explain to me how all of these supposed entry level jobs can expect you to have a plethora of experience when you're not able to get hired without the experience? Secondly, how can all jobs expect you to have availability 9-5 every weekday as a student?

Last week I received a callback for a job as a medical scribe–a call I had been awaiting for about a month–and during the brief phone interview I was told that I couldn't be recommended for the job due to my lack of daily availability during the semester. This would make more sense if the recruiter hadn't already known I was a student before the phone interview. However, she and I had been emailing back and forth beforehand and she was well aware that I had a full year of undergrad left before earning my B.A. degree. When I then stated my schedule, which is completely full in the mornings and into the early-mid afternoons, she said that she hadn't even thought about my schedule conflicting with the time frame of the job because most students take night classes these days to be able to work during the day.

This is almost impossible if you do not attend a community or junior college.

At a four-year university you don't have the option to pick if your classes are in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Aside from the standard G.E. courses, you have set courses that you have to take to fulfill your major requirements. These courses are offered typically at only one or two times throughout the week, and not every course is offered every semester. This makes your scheduling flexibility extremely low. Most professors at my university don't want to be on campus extremely early in the morning or late in the evening, making the most popular times for classes the late morning and early afternoon. While not conducive for a work schedule, it's understandable, and it's something I've had to work around for two years. However, while trying to find a better job, it's become apparent that a job working around my class schedule is quite impossible.

I know that there are thousands of college students out there who need to be able to support themselves and pay the bills. While some of them are at community and junior colleges where they can work more with their personal schedules, I know there are also some of them who are going to U.C. Berkeley and Yale and Princeton right now who don't have the luxury of being able to take classes whenever they want, and are seriously struggling to earn a living. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized how work-centered this country is. Students are not rewarded for their hard work and dedication here, instead they're slapped with minimum wage jobs and thousands of dollars in high-interest-rate debt. Shouldn't we be encouraging our higher education students? Shouldn't they be given some kind of respect in the work force if not acceptance and tolerance? I'm two semesters away from earning my Bachelor's Degree and I can't even get hired at Starbucks. What does that say to the students who are on the cusp of making their decision about going to college or entering the workforce?

What's really being said here is that this is a country that doesn't reward or value higher education in the way that it should. In most other developed nations, higher education is free of debt and easily accessible to students of all ages 17+ who come from a wide variety of economic backgrounds. In most other developed nations there is a focus on education and putting out intelligent professionals into the workforce who are prepared with the knowledge they've gained and are ready to dip their toes into their fields. Why is it that in the wealthiest nation in the world I can't seem to make enough money as a college student to even make it through school? The days of working during the Summer to pay your way through college are over. These days you work through Summer to be able to eat throughout the semester. Instead of leaving ready for the workforce, you leave with a lack of the professional experience that most positions deem necessary, and a load of debt that keeps you awake at night. The true American college experience.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

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12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

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13. Frat House Dr. Sign

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Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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I Asked Students About Relationship Advice & This Is What I Got

Coming from the biggest booty call school in the nation

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As cuffing season is quickly approaching it seems like everyone is talking about how much they love or hate the entire concept of relationships. As I got talking to students around campus, I started asking what the best relationship advice they would give for a healthy and successful relationship.

Personally, I was actually surprised by the answered I received, and maybe Syracuse is more than just a booty call school after all.

Keep in mind these answers come from all genders, relationship status', religion, and sexuality.

1. "Be honest about everything. It's not worth the cover-ups and lies, as with everything honesty is the best policy." 

2. "Most strong relationships don't evolve from a hookup (NOT A RULE, just an observation from my personal life). I like fooling around as much as the next person, but it's definitely a lot less complicated if you didn't meet the person through a drunken hookup." 

3. "Be understanding and don't try to make them fit your mold of a perfect partner because everyone is human and will make mistakes. Placing expectations on someone is unrealistic and will always leave you unhappy. Love someone for who they are, not who you wish they were."

4. "Respect each other and learn to admit when you're wrong. Say you're sorry and never go to bed angry. Say I love you every time you leave or hang up the phone."

5. "Keep your distance while still being together sometimes."

6. "Have a relationship with Jesus. This makes all the difference in the world. Without him, I wouldn't be with my fiance. Jesus is the glue that holds us together, and he gives me strength every day to avoid impatience." 

7. "Communicate and don't be afraid to show your true feelings. Trust is key." 

8. "Be open minded and patient. Love may be a feeling, but it's also a choice. It is so important to be willing to accept your partners flaws and adapt to them. If you truly love each other, you work though the difficult circumstances." 

9. Communication. You have to communicate your feelings at all times. If you don't then things get complicated and you and your partner will become unhappy, especially in a long distance relationship which tends to happen a lot when people go to college. Always be open and communicate!"

10. "Communication and trust."

11. "Be honest with each other."

12. "One piece of advice someone gave me was 'you should remember the first and last time someone hurts you. After that there shouldn't be any more to remember.' I think there's more to it, but it's somethings that has alwasy stuck with me."

13. "It's all about trust and compromise. If you don't have trust, nor can compromise and understand and respect your differences; that will elad you to have issues." 

14. "Communication, mutual effort and same intentions." 

15. "Make sure you aren't the only one putting effort in the relationship. Both people in the relationship should be putting in the same amount of effort to keep each other happy." 

16. "Trust is everything!"

17. "Communication, it's the key to trust."

18. "I am a really anxious person and I have difficulty trusting others. I find that I often will look for and create problems that do not even exist to protect myself from getting hurt. This only resulted in more unnecessary fighting and stress. I learned that in order to have a healthy relationship, we need to allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable. Trust your gut, but do not go searching for what is not there out of fear."

19. "It isn't about what you receive. Keep giving. That's what unconditional love is. I'm not saying never break up with someone, just don't let your partner's actions or feeling for the day affect how you love them that day." 

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