I have gone through five majors in my previous two years of college; international relations, environmental studies, religious studies, theater, and now finally, child and family studies. I have changed and changed my course of study depending on what I thought would make me the most money, what I thought was the most interesting, what I thought would help the world, and what my true passion was. I think I have now found in social work a good balance between marketability, necessity, and enjoyment. But now that I’ve made my choice, my problem is affording it.
I have always worked while in school, and I currently work two jobs. In fact, I know very few people at PSU who do not work year-round. And not just for some extra spending money, but to afford their education and housing. Portland State of Mind is coming in just a couple of weeks and on Tuesday October 27th from 7 – 8pm PSU will be a hosting a town hall style meeting (free and open to the public) about raising Oregon’s minimum wage from its current $9.25/hour to a possible $15/hour. This event falls in the wake of New York, San Francisco, and Seattle all passing legislation to raise their minimum wage. Similar legislation will likely appear before Oregon voters sometime next year. If I didn’t have to work that evening I would attend this meeting, and I highly recommend you all try to attend.
As someone who currently makes a wage less than the proposed minimum wage, as I’m sure many of you do as well, this legislation and this discussion affects me. At many times in my college career, I have felt that spending so much of my own and my parents’ money is a waste. What’s the point of bankrupting my family if I can’t get a job anyway? I have hope that this cycle of struggling to afford college then struggling to pay off debt after graduation will end. And I hope you all do as well. Whether you have hope, whether you have no hope, whether you feel lost in the struggle of it all, let’s do something about it. Make your voice heard at this town hall meeting and let our community know that everyone deserves a living wage.