in debt.
underpaid.
overworked.

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"All these external things that happened outside of school took me away from dealing with school. My father passed away and I never had time to work through it.... It became too much and I dropped out of school for a bit and worked."

Micheal
Edited By Erika Carlos

Michael Kile


Chemical Engineering, Class of 2018

Michael Kile comes from a working-class family. His mom immigrated to the United States from Guatamala and his dad had served in the military. Education was very important in his family, but when his dad passed away his senior year of high school he didn't know if he would be able to attend university.

"I did college the Mexican way. You have to hustle and you’re expected to do it. You know you are coming from an underprivileged background but you also know you have to work incredibly more."

Elizabeth
Edited By Erika Carlos

Elizabeth Muñoz


Public Policy, Class of 2016

Throughout her undergraduate career at UCSB, Elizabeth Munoz took on over 15 paid positions. She worked at a theater, a legal office, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bar. And oftentimes, her work and her academics would conflict—she would sometimes have to skip class to catch the bus to work.

"I recognize that I'm really lucky to walk out of college with no debt, so i might as well take advantage of it. I can spend time traveling after college and figure out what I want to do instead of getting a job right away."

Evan
Edited By Erika Carlos

Evan Wilbur


Math, Class of 2017

Evan Wilbur comes from an upper-middle class family and his father is paying for his tuition. However, he decided to work through college to supplement what his dad was providing and ended up often prioritizing work over school.

“I shouldn’t be spending more time making sandwiches than I am reading Karl Marx. It should be the other way around.”

Ashley
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Ashley Baker


Film & Media Studies, Class of 2017

Ashley Baker is an afro-latina student from from a working class background. The many struggles of balancing school, work, and personal life matters have led her to take two leaves of absence during her time attending university. She's back in school now and trying to find balance in her life. It has been hard to find balance with over 50K in student debt looming over her head, but she doesn't want the money to stop her. Ashley's goal is to continue her education and be able to advocate for students like herself.

"As a student, you are already open to exploitation, and once you are open to one form of exploitation, you are then opened to other forms of exploitation ... In my case that was sexual harassment"

Nastacia
Edited By Erika Carlos

Nastacia Schmoll


English & Slavic Studies, Class of 2014

Nastacia Schmoll was able to go to school on the Tuition Fee Waiver, which covered the cost of tuition, because her parents had served in the Marine Corps. Despite this, she still took up jobs to pay for rent, student fees, books, and food in order to graduate without debt. A condition of the Tuition Fee Waiver, however, was that any income or financial contributions she received had to be below the poverty level or else she would lose the waiver. In order to both benefit from the waiver and pay for expenses, Nastacia had to find a job that was willing to pay her under the table. Because of her reliance on that relationship, she was exposed to many forms of exploitation, including sexual harassment.

"No matter what you're doing, if you're working there's a lot to be said for the responsibility that comes with that and just learning how to manage your time and your resources, whether it's energy or money or sleep ... That is a very important part of the college experience."

Andrew
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Andrew McMaster


Psychology, Class of 2017

Andrew McMaster comes from an upper-middle class family of academics and has worked in college for money as well as for experience. He believes working outside of the classroom is essential to a holistic college experience and that the university should do more to provide meaningful work for students.

"Because of our financial disadvantages we have to take on the mantel ourselves as students to get access to those things, because we can't look anywhere else."

Leanne
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Leanne Royo


Film & Media Studies, Class of 2017

Leanne Royo comes from a lower-middle class family and has taken out more than 30K in loans to pay for school. Some of that money goes to support her family back home, helping them pay for rent and other necessities. She's worked a lot as an undergraduate student, though much of that work has come in the form of unpaid internships. She took on internships and unpaid research positions in order to learn something, but often found that she was performing only menial labor.

"My college experience would be completely different if I didn't go home to an RA staff every day ... I don't know how I wouldn't be Chelsea the RA. It's part of my identity."

Chelsea
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Chelsea Brandwein


Classics, Class of 2017

Chelsea Brandwein is a Resident Assistant (RA) at UCSB. As an RA, she performs a lot of affective and emotional labor on top of duties such as event organizing. Her job has become a core part of her college experience and she is optimistic, despite the anxieties of debt, that it will help her in the job market after graduate school.

"Rushing and the stress just kinda get to you. It's like you can manage it, but it's just not good for your mental health, because there's so much mental stress on you at all times."

Kiana
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Kiana Hassanzadeh


BioPsychology & Spanish, Class of 2018

Kiana Hassanzadeh comes from a lower class, immigrant family. She has taken jobs in college, both paid and unpaid, for many reasons, including supporting her parents, paying for school, and gaining experience. Some of these jobs have demanded that she be in a constant rush to get things done, causing her to feel mentally drained, lose weight, and suffer academically.

"I'm not sure what I would do ... I'd have my degree in classics and history, but I don't know what I would do with that without pursuing further education."

Vincent
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Vincent Shepard


Classics & History, Class of 2017

Vincent Shepard grew up in a single parent, lower-middle income family. He's chosen not to work during the school year so he can focus on his classes, but he spends his summers working full time at his families hardware store in order to make a dent in his looming debt. He believes that in order to move up in the world it's necessary for him to go to grad school after graduation, even if that means more debt.

"Stop treating students like they are a CSO before they're a student. We're a student here before a CSO."

Kevin
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Kevin Huang


Economics & Accounting, Class of 2017

Kevin Huang comes from a well-off background. With his dad paying his expenses, Kevin doesn't have to worrying about student debt. Nevertheless, he has chosen to work in order to have some of his own money to do what he wants and not be completely dependent on his dad. As a CSO (community service organization) officer, he often had to work irregular hours and the risk of harm. Now he's working "side hustles" like Uber and Lyft, which will become his only source of income after graduation.

"...I have an almost 40K loan out of it. That's why I've always been so anxious to work. I don't trust just school to be the thing that gets you through. I have to work."

Erika
Edited By Nastacia Schmoll

Erika Carlos


Psychology & Comparative Literature, 5th Year

Erika Carlos comes from a working class, immigrant family. She's been working since 15 years old and has continued to work in both paid and unpaid positions through college while still accruing a 40K debt due to student loans. Despite the sacrifices to her social and campus life and the inevitable debt, she's still glad she did the work she did because it's given her skills and has allowed her to know now what jobs she wants.

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