Blog: Why parents should understand the life of a college student who works?
By Fabián Molina
“Most of us (college students) have a part time job because we need to cover our own expenses or be”
My name is Fabian Molina. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Mass communications and Journalism at Miami Dade College. I was born in the country where there is one the best coffees in the world, Colombia. One of my dreams it’s to buy a house for my parents and to have a good job in where I can show my passion, journalism. I see journalism not only as a job but as a way of life. This field is not exclusively to report on the latest developments but it is also a tool to give a voice to those who are under the shadows. Sometimes we believe our dreams are dashed, but remember: life is not always rosy; sometimes shows its dark side. We can walk through the darkness or light up a candle and continue our journey.
Most of us (college students) have a part time job because we need to cover our own expenses or because our check is part of the monthly budget of the house.
Whatever the reason is, our parents should understand that this lifestyle is not as simple as it sounds or seems.
If your parents can’t understand and you fail to express the feelings when you are tired from a long day of being working and studying please show them this, because I’m sure I feel the same as you when those kinds of days hit us.
To parents: Believe it or not college life is hard and if you add the pressure of a job and a manager you dislike you'll probably get a negative number.
I know as a parent you want your son/daughter to be responsible and that is the main reason why you ask them to get a job in the first place. But you got to understand that sometimes our job sucks and most of the time we have to stay with it because no one really gives us the opportunity to show our skills.
Our job is also like our second home. The majority of us have experience with retail stores or restaurants where you have to interact with people.
Dealing with public is like a lottery; sometimes you can win a car (great and polite customers) or sometimes you can get a tricycle (I think you know what I mean) but either you like your prize or you don't, you still have to accept it.
That's what sometimes parents don't understand, besides of being stuck with a manager we don't like, we have to deal with people who treat us as their slaves.
The stress we suffer throughout the whole semester is something incredible. The tons of homework that we have and the presentations we need to do make our semester unreal…oh and what about finals? That is the cherry on top of the semester.
The sleepless nights in where no one can see our frustrations and the hard time we are having by trying to understand a term or an equation, we keep it to ourselves. On those nights we fight against our own body, which invites us to go to sleep, but at the same time the brain is trying to process the information of six chapters for our test in the morning…amazing right?
Having the experience of being working and studying at the same time may lead us to a different path in where we appreciate the value of things, for example a $45 pair of jeans is almost like a work shift… crazy.
But getting to a more serious point, we know that by doing this it makes us strong and a more responsible person, but sometimes we need you (our parents) to understand that the combination of this two (college and work) is not as easy as you think and that our days off we prefer to sleep until 12.
Looking for an internship?
Getting an internship can be a difficult task, or at least that's what I've heard. My case was quite an exception.
In October 2012 I had the opportunity of doing an internship with one of the largest television networks in the U.S., Univision. I met wonderful people, which helped me grow my knowledge about journalism.
But before I tell you about my experience and the result of this, let’s start from the beginning.
One day I was working at a yogurt shop and two clients came to ask for their order. I kindly gave them what they wanted and after a few minutes of conversation with a journalist who worked at Univision (one of my clients) I got the ticket to a new experience ... Amazing, right?
I started working in the news section and I was in charge of uploading articles and slideshows to the website. I was also part of a project where I was given the opportunity to interview and create my own material.
But ... What is an internship?
An internship is a working method which consists in an exchange of services by experience between the company and the student. An internship can clarify the doubt about whether that’s the job you want for your life. Also, you can create contacts or you can earn college credits with this. But remember, the internship can be paid or sometimes your pay check is the experience.
Where can I find an internship opportunity?
Although I'm not the best person to recommend places to go to look for internships, since the opportunity knocked on my door, I have some tips and ideas of people who have managed to do so through these three web pages.
Experience.com - Offers numerous internships, is a tool which provides information written by and for students who share their experiences.
Indeed.com - This page offers you the opportunity to receive possible internships or job opportunities through email. You have completely free access to millions of opportunities and new experiences.
GoAbroad.com - This website is designed for those potential travelers who want to live a new experience with international organizations.
If you can get an internship, it will be the most rewarding activity where you will learn something new every day, you’ll hear expert advice and maybe end up with a job at the company!
That's what happened with me, now I'm a Multimedia Freelancer and I work with special projects for Univision.com ... oh ... and I’m just a junior in college.
My advice? GO LOOK FOR AN INTERNSHIP!! I know it sounds difficult to go to work without a pay check, but believe me, you’ll be one step higher than the others.
A Hispanic child facing a new world
I grew up in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, and as a normal child I learned to speak the language of this land, Spanish. Without thinking of living abroad, I never set out to learn a second language.
Years passed and everything was normal, unchanged, until one day a messenger arrived with a package which contained the fate of not only one person, but a whole family. The time for change had arrived, and the place to carry out this change was the dreamland of almost all Hispanics, United States. When my parents informed me the opportunity to travel and have a better life in this country, all I said was: "I want to go!"
My family and I never thought we would face problems when landing in the USA, on the contrary, we thought in those dreams that were getting closer and closer.
On February 25, 2007, the adventure began. That day at the El Dorado airport in Bogota, we left behind uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, grandparents and nephews. With a bittersweet within us, we boarded the plane bound to the Sun City, Miami.
The first few days in Miami were a dream. The first week I met the sea for the first time and walked the famous streets of the city. But as we all know, happiness this is short and also my days without school.
On arrival to this country I was 13 years old. I was supposed to enter to ninth grade, but without the knowledge of English; the County Public Schools put me in eighth grade. This is where it started what I call "the vengeance of my mistake."
For those who have not lived the experience of getting into a school where your native language is not spoken, here is my story.
When you first walk into school in the United States as a foreign student, the first thing they do is to lock you in a room. Do not panic, in this room is where is held the English test or the so called "ESOL exam."
The teacher (In my case was Hispanic) do not say a word in your language explaining what it’s going to happen and proceeds to show different kinds of picture cards with the hope that you tell him the names of them in English.
Each ESOL class (English for speakers of other languages) is a level; these classes are divided into four levels. My knowledge of English did not even reach level one, but they had no choice but to leave me in this one.
That's how my first day at a school in the United States began. Having established that my English level was one, I was placed in "special classes" for people who did not speak English. My subjects were six, of those six classes, NONE OF THEM were special ... oh yes, the "special thing" was that I did not understand one word of what the teacher was saying.
At that time all I wanted was that the clock will strike 3:30 PM to go home and forget that day.
The day continued and the bell arrived. Everyone got up immediately and started walking out of the room. My first reaction to this was to sit facing the board "waiting for the other teacher" without thinking that the bell represented the change of classroom for learning other subjects.
Changing classroom was something new for me. In Colombia, the student has only one classroom and every teacher goes into this room and not vice versa.
Trying to ask something to somebody else was intimidating. I managed to "communicate" with a teacher whose Spanish level was the same as my English level. The teacher looked at the number of my class in my schedule and with his hands, he pointed the location of the room. In this same way I managed to get to each of my classes on time.
Lunch time arrived and with that my desperation to eat. To my surprise, the ladies who served lunch spoke Spanish. I sat isolated on a table with the company of the rice and the chicken (my lunch).
After lunch came the taunts. Kids made fun of me and others for not knowing "their language." This was a bucket of cold water straight into my face.
The clock read 3:25 PM. The thrill of finishing that day was so great that when the bell rang I was the first to reach the door. I ran through the hallways to be free of the vengeance, "the vengeance of my mistake."