From the moment I was old enough to read a book, I was working as hard as I could to achieve my dreams. It wasn’t until this past year that I truly realized how much money played a factor in daily life.
When I started driving, I noticed that gas was expensive, school fees were expensive, and going out with friends was expensive. Everything in this world costs money, and that’s a harsh reality to face as a high school student.
The summer going into my senior year I started applying for jobs in the small town of Keizer. My car was in the shop all summer, so I was hoping to get a place close to home. I applied for over 30 businesses.
Most ranged from fast food to retail to coffee shops. I got called in for a few interviews, but none of them amounted to anything. I was starting to get anxious because I needed money for the upcoming year and the trip to New York that was planned with my theater troupe. Luckily, I was able to obtain a very unlikely job.
Starting In Catering
Initially, this business wasn’t even on my radar. By the end of June 2018, I got a job at Loustic Catering. Oddly enough, I didn’t apply to Loustic. My father was the one that set me up with the job, and I’m still so fortunate that he did.
Even though this job wasn’t the typical 20 hours a week, it was something, and it was the best I got that summer. I got hardly any hours in all actuality. I was one of the few minors working there, so I couldn’t do certain events that involved lots of alcohol. It also didn’t help that I was the new employee because all the higher-ups got the hours first.
Catering is an additional job for most of the people that work there. Most of my coworkers have day jobs in the office, and that includes my father. Loustic is one of the three jobs he’s working.
When my father set me up with the job, I was shocked. The only reason he could do so was that he had status as the “third-in-command” and was highly admired by our coworkers. His proposition to get me a job at Loustic was shocking because we hardly spoke. The only thing he knew about me was that I had been hunting for a job for a few months.
We were really close until I entered high school, and then I began to grow up. This caused a clash with him more than I had before. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, yet I felt like being in his house with my two adult step-siblings triggered me to hit rock-bottom. I wanted to thrive in all aspects of my life, and with him, I didn’t.
After I began working at Loustic, my dad and I became coworkers, not family. We weren’t really family at this point, so at least we had something. This job encouraged me to connect with my father more, and that’s at least one blessing work has given me.
Thinking Outside The Box
Coming into my senior year, I had no clue where I wanted to go for college; nevertheless, for the rest of my life. I have worked at numerous weddings and various events. All of these experiences have shown me that I want to pursue a bachelor’s in communications.
Serving hors d'oeuvres, the fancy name for appetizers, to guests is one of my favorite parts of catering, and probably one of the most pivotal points in my journey. I love serving others and being able to talk interact with all types of people is what I find most fulfilling.
I’ve also found that planning events is quite entertaining, and never has a set routine, which is something I desire in my day-to-day life. I could plan someone’s Big Day, or coordinate a fancy dinner, and see their delight as things unraveled. Knowing that being an event planner was in my reach, I began to think outside of the box.
What if I went to a prestigious school? What if I went out of state? I knew that all the possibilities of the world were in my hands, so I decided to do something with this power.
The Idea Of College
While working a few hours a week, I started pursuing the college hunt in the fall of my senior year. I applied to Westmont College, got accepted, and tackled scholarships.
I know that I haven’t been working a lot, and I haven’t had a ton of jobs on rotation; however, I have a job that gives me joy, has repaired a broken relationship and drives me to become a better person.
I am currently chasing more jobs for this next summer, and even for this coming month, yet it’s eerily like my first experience. I know that wherever I work, I will find a way to balance it in my life. Having another job will push me, yet it is necessary for me to earn money for college.
I’m still short $22,000 to go to Westmont, but I know that I will find it. I’ve always been a hard-worker, and if I must apply for 30 more scholarships or get two more jobs, I will. I am determined to make my dream a reality and working while in school has really given me the tools to achieve everything I want and more.
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Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.