True Life: I Am On My Own

Many college students are lucky enough to have their parents put them through college, but there are a select few of us who are not as fortunate.

One of them happens to be me. I am not saying that anyone who gets help from their parents are spoiled, I am simply saying that because I do not have this privilege it is a little harder for me to get by in everyday life.

I have been making my own money since I was 14 years old.

In 2004, my parents decided it was time for me to get a job. They could not afford to pay for me to go to the movies or the mall or anything that involved them giving me money to go have fun.
I began working at a local diner as a bus person at around $4 an hour plus tips.

Since I am frugal and I was living with my parents, I was able to save up $5,000 dollars by the time I was 16. I was able to buy a 2000 Plymouth Neon for myself on my 16th birthday. I still have that car today and it is my most prized possession. I had to pay my car insurance, gas, inspection and anything that got done to my car by myself, but it was all worth it.

From there I started saving for college. I was promoted to hostess at the diner when I was 15 and I picked up a second job at an ice cream parlor which paid me under the table (in cash), plus tips.
I did everything I could to keep my school work up, play volleyball for my school and work both jobs. I actually enjoyed it. It was fulfilling.

Eventually, both the diner and ice cream parlor went under new management and were failing.
I quit both jobs and got a job at a country club as a server. Around this time, I had graduated high school and was going to a community college to save money while I got my general education courses done.

Working as a server was not bringing in enough money for me as I saw it at the time. So as soon as I turned 18, I started bartending. When I heard there was a position open for a pro-shop attendant, I took on that job too.

By the time I was 18, I would go to school in the morning, work in the pro shop in the afternoon and sometimes close the bar at night. During the weekends, I would wake up at 5 a.m. to go to work. I put every spare dollar I made in my savings account.

At 19, I decided to transfer schools. I thought it would be easy, especially with all the money I had saved up. I figured I would be fine, but I did not take into consideration the expenses my parents would no longer pay, like groceries, cable, internet and electric.

I was lucky enough to move in with my friend Kristi and our landlord did not require us to pay for heat, sewer, water or trash. I realized that it was not as easy as I thought when I started becoming low on funds. My savings account was dwindling the first few months before I realized that I needed to put out a lot more money than I expected.

When I moved to Shippensburg, I applied for jobs right away. I knew that if I did not work I would eventually go broke and have nowhere to live. I ended up getting a serving job at the Black Horse Tavern which is now the University Grille. I started working there in June of 2009 and am still working there now.

In May of 2011, I moved into an apartment by myself and pay around $600 or more every month in rent and utilities, which include electric, cable, Internet, heat, water, sewer and trash. In some ways I am thankful for my parents making me start working so young. It has taught me responsibility, work ethic, the value of a dollar and many other very valuable lessons.

It is rough working three days a week, taking 15 credits and finding time to be the Ship Life Editor.
Sometimes I wonder how I do it, but I am not expecting sympathy from anyone. Instead, I want people to count their blessings.

Take into consideration how much time and money your parents save you. And if you are in the same boat as me, then keep doing what you are doing, I feel for you.

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