The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Lando Norris in Miami. Accident win or the birth of a new star?
May 17, 2024

  On May 5, 2024, an essential event for Formula 1 occurred in Miami. One of the favorites of the world public, the Briton Lando...

The jobs we have as students remind us to stay in school

rachel musselmann
Rachel Musselmann

Patty flippers. Unpaid interns. Sandwich deliverers. Tour guides.

For all but a lucky few, income as a college student means low-paying grunt work at the bottom of the food chain. Like so many others, I spend my days tossing dough and politely up-selling at another generic pizza restaurant. There, the peak of excitement is usually a furious customer demanding a refund. They phone in to complain about an unforgivably misplaced mushroom or an “inedible” crust bubble. Sometimes, the most interesting part of my day is practicing trick shots with wads of plastic wrap.

Ad

Over time, the days begin to melt together. Nothing really changes. The employees wear heavy polyester uniforms (several sizes too large) and plastic crime scene gloves. We disguise ourselves as low-level professionals in sensible shoes. We plaster on fake smiles as customers struggle to understand why extra toppings cost more. And we do it all again tomorrow.

The reason we students are so comfortable filling our summers with minimum-wage work is that we are confident it is temporary. I don’t mind the apron because I know at the end of the summer, I can go back to pursuing my degree and that degree will (hopefully) take me somewhere better. Why else would we continue tossing money into our education, unless we truly believed it was our ticket out?

For now, I am faced every day with the alternative. It could be a pimply-faced assistant manager breathing down my neck or a delivery route or a lawn mower. While there is no shame in honest work, honest work with no chance for advancement or excitement is the trap I can feel closing around me.

It turns out even part-time shift work is enough to remind me why I decided to risk university in the first place.

As the fall semester grows closer, I gripe with everyone else. Secretly, I am relieved. Every class, in theory, is a step away from wiping counter tops for the rest of my life and toward a meaningful career.

So many are denied access to the privilege of higher education, and we have the audacity to whine about it. In reality, we should be grateful to get stuck as a barista or server for a few months, if only to provide some perspective.

Collegian Senior Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at letters@collegian.com and on Twitter @rmusselmann.

View Comments (9)
More to Discover

Comments (9)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *