We all know that college is an expensive adventure, but that we are making an investment for our future. Besides the classes, hours of homework, and the late nights before exams, a major hard part about college is paying for it. Many students are forced into working jobs on or off campus during the semester in order to payoff their thousands-of-dollars tuition (let's not even get started on the dorming costs at college!) However, for those in STEM fields and those planning on going to medical schools, we are usually pushed into doing unpaid research that takes up all of our available time. I know I'm one of those students and that if I had to get a job on top of classes and research, I wouldn't sleep at all. Thus, the only way I can make enough money to pay for each school year is to work my butt off during the summer.
This past summer (2015) I had two jobs. While that doesn't sound like much to people, I didn't work two part-time jobs. I was working full time doing research for Buffalo State College. I was also working a few nights during the week and the whole weekend as a lifeguard at a local pool. It totaled over 60 hours per week. Thankfully, I loved both of my jobs, but that didn't make me any less tired. I was spending nine-hour days in my lab while working at least 20 hours a week at the pool. On top of this, I was studying for the MCATs (wish me luck this January!) and looking at med schools. There were times during the summer when I wanted to at least give up my part-time job, if only to have the last few weekends of the summer to myself. But, I knew that I couldn't stop. The ability to pay for my education was on the line and there was no way I could sacrifice that. The only thing for me to do was to take a deep breath, pack my lunch, and head off to work again.
The moment that I knew that my hard work had paid off was when, after paying my fall tuition near the end of the summer, I realized that I would have enough to pay for spring semester. Right then, I was so proud of myself, not only for doing the work, but for not giving up even though it would have made my life so much easier. I knew that I had to put my education first, and thanks to my summer self, I'm able to continue to focus on my academics and my research without worrying about financials for next semester. However, knowing that I'll have to pull another seven days a week next summer really makes me appreciate sleeping in on the weekends.