These Same Stressors Loom
I am not on financial aid, so I was able to wait until the end of my freshman year to look for a student job. When I accepted a position as librarian for the bands, I did so with the understanding that my income would be used for “extra” expenses – meals out, trips to New York, friends’ theater production – and would in no way be linked to my continued enrollment at Yale or my ability to fully participate in undergraduate life. The past year has been a very difficult one for me personally, and as a result I have decided to scale back my non-curricular commitments. This means reducing the number of hours I spend working. My continued employment and status as a student aren’t jeopardized if I free up my schedule, which is not an automatic guarantee for many of my peers at Yale. Reducing work hours is a freedom that is denied to those students who have to work ten or more hours a week just to prove to Yale that they are “grateful enough” to be here. When I think about the factors which made scaling back necessary for me – anxiety over classes, questions about my place at this university, over-commitment outside of academics – I see that these same stressors loom just as much or more over those students most affected by the student income contribution, whose continued enrollment might be tied to academic success and who are asked to be thankful to be here while at the same time being required to work hours and hours every week. Many of my friends in this position do not have the freedom to adjust their commitments to experience this place on an equal playing field, and Yale must make good on its word by prioritizing the well-being of all its students, not just people with racial and class privilege like me.