By JOHN KING
According to a calculator made by M.I.T professor, Dr. Amy Glasmeier, the average cost of living for a single adult in Amarillo is $26,608/year.
The math equals out to $2,000/month or $500/week. If you take into account what I made at my former job, which was $10 an hour, I would have to work for 50 hours/week to meet that average.
I started the semester with morning classes MondayThursday and a five-hour shift for all but two days of the week. For a couple weeks, I had barely any time to do homework, to eat a healthy meal or even sleep.
During the week I worked for about 20 hours, and, after deducting taxes, made about $180/week, coming out to $720/month. The cheapest apartment I can find is $600/month, which would leave me $120 for bills, food, gas and anything else I would need.
To make enough to reasonably attend college and live alone, I would need to work a 30-hour week and be making at least $12/hour.
There is not enough time in the week for someone to go to school, work their ass off for piss-poor wages, do homework, run errands, take care of kids in some cases and live a healthy life. With better paying jobs requiring some job experience to even apply, it seems like it’s almost impossible to be a self-sufficient college student without going into stupid amounts of debt.
Fortunately for me, I do have support from my family and I live with my grandparents, but for many there is no option but to fend for themselves. Students cannot survive on wages so low when the living expenses are so high.
Entry level jobs are generally in food service or retail, paying around $8-$12/hour. These jobs put the employee in hellish conditions, forcing them to deal with entitled and childish customers or make more food than should be possible in mere minutes, all without help or in understaffed situations. I had to run the kitchen in my former workplace alone for hours on end.
No one should be expected to work for almost nothing and fulfil ungodly requirements with no margin for error. Employers hand out no benefits, have no consideration for employees’ personal problems, and treat workers as nothing more than a means to an end. If circumstances don’t change for the workforce, there will be almost no way to manageably be self-sustaining and go to school, which is tremendously crucial to the rest of their lives.