'A Working Girl in...' is a post written by a contributing writer that appears on Working Girl twice a month. This week's post was written by a Working Girl from Syracuse, New York about her job as a waitress and bartender while pursuing her dream to attain a master's degree in psychology.
I've always had the theory that your first year of college can either be the worst or best year of your life.
Best case scenario you move out on your own in some new, exciting city, get a job doing what you love making tons of money in the process, and start out your early twenties young, hot, rich, and ready to take over the world.
Worst case scenario you move back home with mom and dad, struggle to find a job that utilizes your $160,000 degree education and instead settle for something that pays just over minimum wage, and slowly disintegrate into a slob whose dreams and ambitions are beginning to fade.
Enter: Me and the Worst Case Scenario.
As graduation slipped by and those last 30 days of keg stands and cheeseburgers slowly melted away, I was forced to look deep within myself and ask, "Are you really moving back home right now?". This is not how it was supposed to be. I'm supposed to be moving on up - to the big city, with the big jobs, and the big nightlife with the big handsome men. I was not supposed to be going back to Syracuse where the only thing slower than the economy is that guy you used to date in eleventh grade (because, yes, he moved home too). In order to cope with such a setback I convinced myself this was only temporary, just one year, and then I could move off to somewhere bigger and better and finally have my Mary Tyler Moore moment - hat throwing and all.
I found myself the highest paying "non-job" I could and started waitressing and bar-tending in one of Syracuse's fancy-schmancy restaurants. It definitely has its perks. 'Tasting' (or as I like to call it 'drinking on the job') is encouraged, which means I'm making use of at least one of the things that I learned in college. I also get to sleep in everyday and have become an absolute daytime TV fanatic. For you 9-5'ers who haven't had a sick day in a while let me update you: Drew Carey has completely ruined "The Price is Right". I recommend switching over to "The View" or "Family Feud". However, contemporary female debate cannot compensate for everything. Just as you Working Girls have to deal with office politics and burecratic bullshit, I too face challenges at my job. Not only must I memorize 400 bottles of wine, knowing the exact difference between each burgundy and beaujolias, but I must also deal with the wandering eyes and lingering hands of the city's finest doctors, lawyers, and semi-retired mob bookies.
As my one year anniversary of "adulthood" approaches I've tried to look back on this year with unbiased eyes. It really hasn't been that bad after all. You can't beat having roommates who pay all the bills and do all the cooking and cleaning. I've also come to realize that once they've stopped worrying about curfews and teenage pregnancy my parents are actually pretty cool people. With no bills to pay I've had the chance to save up a good chunk of money and have had the opportunity to see my hometown in a new light. Say what you will about Syracuse but I don't know of many other places that offer both nightlife and the great outdoors just twenty minutes away from one another. I'm starting to think that this year spent at home has been a beneficial experience. I've actually come to appreciate what this city has to offer. Had I moved away right after graduation I'd be in debt, super stressed, and who knows how often I would get to see the fam. I imagine I will miss this place more than I expect once I leave.
Oh yea, did I mention I was leaving?
I've managed to enroll myself in graduate school and have secured an internship in the city to trump all others - New York City. It looks as though my big plans are going to take off after all and hopefully after this short delay I'll be better equipped to handle whatever life throws at me. In the meantime, I'll be practicing my joyful hat throwing because like the song says, "You're gonna make it after all."