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My Love-Hate Relationship With Having A Job As A UCLA Freshman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

In my senior year of high school, my mom sat me down and told me that if I scheduled myself to work more than four times a week, I would be in big trouble. At that point, I was working as a manager and server at a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant while balancing school, dance, extracurriculars and a social life. At that moment, as I was protesting what seemed like the easiest rule to follow ever, she officially diagnosed me with workaholism. 

Since getting a job the minute I turned 14, I have been obsessed with making money for myself. Whether it was cashiering, meatballing (don’t ask…), teaching private dance lessons, selling baked goods out of my kitchen or babysitting, I would be hustling for cash more often than not. When I came to UCLA, my parents urged me to just enjoy my freshman year, but more than ever it seemed like I was in dire need of money. I’ve always hated spending more money than I made, and from the moment I arrived at LAX with zero means of income, I experienced small panic attacks every time I whipped out my beautiful, bronze Capital One Savor One card. 

Then, in what seemed like a sign from God, I was urged to apply to Duffl in a mass text sent to every sorority PC. For those of you who are unfamiliar, as I was before I got the job, Duffl is a delivery service of snacks, vapes and essentials to student dorms and apartments, all on electric scooters. Before I knew it, I was studying the layout of the Westwood streets instead of my classwork and suiting up in a bright orange sweatshirt instead of my going-out clothes on Friday nights. 

Working gives me a sort of inner peace and a sense of personal responsibility for my own life. Duffl’s three-hour shifts four days a week and impressive pay (compared to Pennsylvanian minimum wage) are some pros to the job that I can’t ignore. I’ve also gotten to meet a lot of people, as shifts are just three to five other college students hanging out in a warehouse between delivery runs. But, sometimes I feel like I’m missing out. There are shifts during the day and the night, and I’ve had to rain-check a fair share of birthday dinners, trips to Universal or just casual meals at Epicuria. Having a job limits my ability to be spontaneous since I can’t break my schedule. 

In middle school, a teacher compared busy lives to a stove. You can fill each burner with pots but eventually, there aren’t enough burners to add more pots before something else bubbles over. My stove is definitely full right now with school, clubs, sorority events and just adjusting to college and California life. I’m often overwhelmed, and although I thrive in stressful environments, it gets a bit much sometimes. I love having a job. I love seeing myself on my friend’s private stories as I zip by late at night in a helmet bearing a delivery bag bigger than me. But if I were to do it again, I would follow my parents’ advice a little more and just enjoy my freshman year. We’re all broke college students and a school year without a little extra income wouldn’t have killed me.

Katy is a first year communications major at UCLA originally from Pennsylvania! She enjoys baking, Taylor Swift, and lifting :)