The summer job blues


(Photo by Samantha Kellerman)
(Photo by Samantha Kellerman)

Just in case you’ve been glued to your computer screen like me since the “Winter Wonderland” hit, let me blow your mind: it’s March. Shocking, I know, but not as shocking as the realization that spring is just around the corner.

As a currently unemployed, full-time student without the privilege of spring or summer semester classes ahead, this is the most terrifying time of year. Finding a summer job is extremely hard. Not from the experience of having to work full time, but in a desperate “your experience isn’t relevant to the position” kind of way. It’s the feeling of not mattering in a very fundamental way, along with being broke.

I get no sympathy for this position and instead I’m told to just live at home with my parents. As much as not worrying about rent or food costs is nice, it’s at the cost of perpetual unemployment: small towns do not make a good job market.

I don’t quite feel desperate enough yet to resign myself as a well-fed, bored-stiff broke dependant. I’ve already been in high school and I don’t intend on returning to that state of being.  The fundamental problem is that as wonderful as OSAP is, it’s something you don’t have access to when not taking classes.

I feel no shame in doing the full-time school tango, as I know plenty of people that don’t work during the school year for the same reason I don’t.

I’d rather be a slacker for four years and be handed a degree than be a very tired, overworked drop-out. Some people can pull off having a job while attending school, but I’m not among them. Considering all of the above, I feel I’m in the same place as last year—in Waterloo, battling final papers, telling myself to suck it up and try harder.

If I’ve deemed out all other options, then I guess I’m left with just doing what’s hard. Pushing through online applications, actually putting on pants and dragging myself to mall kiosks with a stack of resumes, it sucks, but it must be done. But, I think I’m okay with that.
First and foremost I’m here to get a degree, but I’m also here to learn.Learning how to properly shake someone’s hand and convince them you’re useful is just another life skill that I suppose we all must learn. If we want to hop into the big world of jobs and money when this four-year academic rollercoaster ejects us, it’s an essential skill.

That said (and I know I’m not alone on this) acknowledging this doesn’t make finding a job any less grueling and demeaning. While I’ve got them in the past, I’ll enjoy two more blissful months pretending I’m a scholar before I’m likely a fast-food fry cook.

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