The student – self-worth struggle

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetSearching for a job as a student can be tough. It will make you want to pull your hair out and scream. There are some jobs out there but basically, if you don’t want to work in the service sector, a call centre, or hand out flyers on the street, you’re sh-t out of luck.

And this is exactly the position I find myself in.

I’ve worked in a t-shirt store, behind a bar at two different operas, and now I’m working all kinds of jobs that relate to the catering business.
The truth is that while those jobs have been convenient, have supplemented and funded my travels and other activities for the most part, they obviously are not what I truly want to do in my life.

And I’m tired. I’m so tired of having to force myself to be friendly. It’s not that I’m not a nice person per se, you’ll find me smiling a lot, but if someone is rude and condescending towards me I want to have the freedom to defend myself and tell this person off. But no. That’s not possible if you work the jobs I work.

You endure. You endure condescending customers with a false smile that doesn’t reach your eyes. You endure off-handed comments about the youth. You endure stressed and rude bosses that treat you like the exchangeable good and cheap labour that you seem to be.
And you are.

Don’t like your job? Fine, go find another; there are a ton of other students who need a job to pay their bills.

What people do seem to forget is that all these student jobs they look down upon are taken up by people who struggle to balance their studies with the rest of their life. Who try to afford a roof over their heads, clothes on their bodies and a tuition to maybe better their life in the future.

You, my dear people, are talking down to the future doctors and lawyers of this society.

Go see how this will work out for you in 10 to 20 years, when you suffer health problems from all the fatty food and overpriced champagne you’ve had and see who’s going to save your life. Probably that mousy looking girl behind the bar at the opera you yelled at years ago for something she wasn’t even responsible for.

Don’t even get me started on the internships that are available to students. If you’re lucky to score one, you can most probably expect it to be unpaid. Which will mean that you will have to work double: one job to support and feed yourself and another to gain the experience that is apparently required for every job that is out there.
Looking at job ads and all the requirements recently has made me sick to my stomach. I need a job to get experience but these jobs only take people that already have experience. It’s a vicious circle from which I don’t know how to escape.

So go ahead, belittle us. Belittle hardworking people for having hope and making their own luck. Just know that, as much as we want to brush it off, your words do leave an impression, do have some sort of impact and might also do some damage. Self-worth is a fickle thing.

On more than one occasion it has me in doubt if I was qualified or experienced enough for positions. The truth, of course, is that I’m not. But the struggle I’ve mentioned above is not helping that matter.

All these things together have me struggling. They make me doubt myself, question my sense of self-worth. Logic and feelings often don’t coincide and sometimes feeling low and a bit desperate is just something that has to happen to you. I am and it has. And this is why I’m writing these words. I write this to empower myself. To remind me that I am capable. I am worthy. I am good enough.

So go ahead, mock the youth. Mock the students and how they’re living ‘the life’. How they’re lazy and how all they do is party all night and sleep all day. I’m not going to disagree, but I know the truth and I know that there is always more than one side to a story. I do enjoy my life, but I am also one of the luckier ones. I have a family that supports me and a country in which uni fees aren’t too high.

However, I am sick and tired of being treated as cheap labour. Sick and tired of being looked down upon because I stand behind and not in front of a bar. Sick and tired of rude customers and even ruder bosses and large companies with no regard towards their employees.

So go ahead and mock us students. See how that works out for you – to belittle people that are just trying their best to finance their life as well as their studies. Just know that we work hard, and what you deride as ‘young individualism’ is what keeps us going, keeps us motivated.

Here’s to us, the students, and our neverending optimism. Here’s to the hope we carry in us that one day, this all will pay off. Here’s to priorities and sacrifice. Here’s to nights spent studying instead of partying.
Here’s to us. The young and determined ones. The ones that might not know where exactly we’re going or where we’ll end up, but know for sure that there’s a road there that’s worth all the hardships.

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Frage Foto Freitag

Question photo friday hosted by Ohhh Mhhh.

1.) A wie aufregend?
A for aufregend (exciting)?

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/Viele Teile meines Studienplanpunktes abgearbeitet zu haben. Ist vielleicht doch ein Ende in Sicht?!
/Having already finished a lot of my curriculum. Maybe the end is in sight after all?!

2.) B wie besonders schön?
B for besonders (extraordinarily) beautiful?

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/Die atemberaubende Aussicht nahe vom Stall.
/The breathtaking view from a spot near the stables.

3.) C wie chaotisch?
C for chaotic?

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/Das Projekt “Küche renovieren” wurde auf das ganze Haus ausgeweitet. Ale Wände streichen und Frühjahrsputz… Umbauarbeiten sollten mit heute erledigt sein, die neue Küche kommt erst in zwei Wochen und bis dahin haben wir immer noch unsre “makeshift” Küche… Auch gemütlich… oder so.
/The project “remodel our kitchen” was expandet to our entire house. All walls got a new coat of paint, there was a major spring cleaning going on as well… The major construction work should be finished today – the new kitchen won’t arrive for another two weeks though so we’ll have to make due with our makeshift kitchen. It’s kinda cozy, I guess.

4.) D wie deine große Liebe?
D for deine (your) big love?

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/Sargon. (Ich bin eigentlich nicht so pferdeverrückt, aber sie spielen doch ne Rolle in meinem Leben und nachdems doch hier um diese Woche geht glaub ich ist die Antwort recht treffend. Ich hatte nen wunderbaren Tag mit ihm :))
/Sargon. (I’m usually not that… horse crazy, if that’s the right word, but horses do play a major role in my life and since this is about the past week it seems more than fitting. I had a wonderful day with him :))

5.) E wie eine einfache Idee?
E for einfache (simple) idea?

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/Kokosflocken als Topping for Eis (oder in diesem fall: Mango Frozen Joghurt).
/Coconut flakes as a topping for ice cream (or in this case mango flavoured frozen yoghurt).

Musings

Today at uni I got into a conversation with a guy who’s been in most of my lectures and some of my seminars for years now. I frequently sat next to him, I saw him interact with his daughter, I knew his name.

During the conversation he said something to which I responded with „I bet your daughter really loves that.“

He stared at me.

„How do you know I have a daughter?“

And in that moment I realised that people forget that even though I notice them, they don’t notice me. That even though I pay attention, they don’t. I see a lot. I notice a lot. I just tend to keep to myself and people usually don’t seem to notice me.

Lately.

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I’ve spent a lot of time at the stables. Lots of sheep running around right now – Sargon’s losing his winter fluff and we’re finally able to work in the riding arena again. Wheee.
I attended the opening of the Kunstkammer in the Museum of Art History in Vienna.
I’ve also spent a lot of time studying for uni exams. Uni’s going quite well so far. Far better than when I first started. :)
I found a roll of film in my very first camera. Judging from the photos I got out of it it’s been in there for about 7-8 years. I truly found some treasures. (See here.)