A Diary Of Adulting On $12.50/Hr With No Outside Financial Help

A Diary Of Adulting On $12.50/Hr With No Outside Financial Help

A response to a recent Refinery29 "Money Diaries"


Refinery29 recently released an article as part of their "Money Diary" series featuring a 21-year-old intern working in New York City. The internet had a lot of feelings about it.

The piece has been heavily criticized because although she makes $25 an hour her parents pay for most of her expenses, and she also receives $1,100 in monthly allowance from family members. Some of her expenses for the week include a Brazilian wax, a weekend trip to the Hamptons with her best girlfriends, and a $23 goat cheese wrap.

Since I'm also a 21-year-old intern I figured I would throw my story into the ring.

Monthly Income

Industry: Environmental Health

Age: 21

Location: My internship is in Wisconsin, but I live in Syracuse, NY the rest of the time.

Income: $12.50/hr

Additional income: On top of my salary, my parents give me $0/month and my grandpa also gives me $0/month. He also forgets my name sometimes when I visit him in the nursing home.

Monthly Expenses

Rent: I live in a two bedroom, the third floor walks up (aka attic). I'm also renting a dorm room while I'm in Wisconsin. My share is $709 (My parents don't pay for it, I do).

Student loan payments: $50. Although I am still in school I'm hoping to pay a little now will pay off in the future.

Health Insurance: $0, but I pay my own copays (and make my own appointments).

Car & Car Insurance: ~$325.

Hulu & Spotify Premium: $4.99. Gotta love that student discount!

Gym Membership: $35 because the trainer gave me a student discount.

Day One

6:45 AM: My alarm goes off for work. I wake up alone in my twin bed. I feel tired as usual but complete my morning routine which includes putting on makeup and getting dressed. I pack some workout clothes into my backpack for after work.

7:56 AM: Luckily my office is only three minutes away from my dorm so I'll be on time for work as usual. When I get to the office I make a cup of coffee using the communal Keurig. Aldi sells fair trade, recyclable K-Cups so I don't feel as bad about using a Keurig. For breakfast, I have a cup of strawberry yogurt with some almond granola.

10:37 AM: I've spent the last 2 1/2 hours working on my research project and I'm ready to gouge my eyes out. I found a new snack that's gluten-free while buying more coffee at Aldi. They're really good and should hold me over until lunch. I take a stroll to the water fountain and fill up my reusable cup before getting back to work.

12:47 PM: I take my lunch break and make an off-brand lean cuisine in the microwave.

1:03 PM: I can take an hour break for lunch but one of the work cars becomes available so I head out to one of my clients for a follow-up. The location is 40 minutes away. The car that's available is a 2016 Chevy Impala and it's the nicest car I've ever driven. Everyone in the office fights over it.

2:50 PM: I arrive back at the office. I spend 20 minutes filling out paperwork then go back to the intern office to continue my research project. I share this office with two other interns but it's the same size as every other office in the building with one person. Even so, coworkers store some of the things that won't fit into their personal offices or department storage closet.

3:57 PM: I snack on some veggie straws so that I don't feel hungry during my work out.

4:30 PM: It's time to leave so I don't have to worry about my project anymore. I head straight to the gym where I work on legs and do some cardio for 25 minutes.

5:47 PM: I decide to buy something for dinner because all I have at home is rice. I head to Trigs, which is a grocery store found only in Wisconsin. They have my favorite Angie's popcorn, but they want $4 for a bag. I begrudgingly take it because I don't feel like going to the organic store in town. I wander around until I find the prepared food section. They want over $7.50 for one salad. I decide it's not worth it and put back the popcorn and leave.

6:53 PM: I usually would just get a salad from McDonald's for ~$5 but they are having a cyclosporiasis outbreak from their salads so that's not an option. I go to Culver's and pay $6 for a chicken cashew salad.

7:03 PM: I eat my salad while watching YouTube videos. In a perfect world, I would be YouTube famous and be paid thousands of dollars for brand deals and driving something fancier than my Subaru Forester.

10:30 PM: I watch House Hunters on Hulu until I fall asleep. I love House Hunters because it gives me ideas for things to look for in houses for when I can afford a mortgage when I'm 40 years old. Until then, this show is all I have.

Today's Expenses: $6

Not everyone can be so lucky to come from a family with extra money. Even so, I feel incredibly fortunate for what I do have, and that I've been able to sustain myself (for the most part) since I've been in college. I may not be able to afford $23 lunches a few times a week, but I am able to pay my rent on time.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Chan on Unsplash

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney

The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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6 Things You Didn't Know About Sorority Recruitment

It's not as bad as you think.


Rush is often a dreaded and exciting event for many college freshmen looking to extend their social circle. For me, it worked out in the end even though it didn't feel that way at times. Long, cold, exhausting days are just one element of the week that is sorority recruitment,

1. People are actually nice


I was not treated badly by any particular sorority, contrary to what I thought might happen.

2. Comfort over fashion, always


It's way too cold to try to wear heels while walking, and nobody really looks at your outfit anyways.

3. Biggest cuts were before house tours/preferences


The biggest cuts came later in the week for my school at least, and I was not prepared for this.

4. It's not for everyone


If you are one of those people who it doesn't work out for, don't take it personally. People can't really get to know you in a matter of minutes anyways.

5. 'Trust the process' actually works


I'm one of those believers that you actually do end up where you are supposed to.

6. Rush does not define you


Getting cut from a 'top tier' sorority does not mean you aren't pretty, cool, or fun. There are plenty of amazing girls in every sorority, and going through rush will help you find your home.

Happy recruitment!

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