I was lucky to get to go to college, and I knew it. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and my grades had been good but not great, so the scholarships and work-study programs were a godsend. Except of course I then had the classic problem: my tuition was paid, my books were bought, and my housing was secured, but I had nothing to actually live on. For a while I toyed with the idea of following my room-mate around and eating her leftovers, but that was both dangerous and unappetizing. So I went the traditional route: I looked for a part-time job.
My campus is remote, and there aren’t a lot of jobs available. I finally found one working events at this event hall a few miles away – I could walk there easy enough, and they had the sort of shift work that made sense for a kid dashing between classes. I could come up with twenty hours a week there and make enough to buy lunch and dinner and maybe even a soda on every other Wednesday! TV and movies make college life look so glamorous and exciting.
Once I got settled in, I liked the job, but one thing drove me insane: Security. Even with my job ID, I got searched each and every time I showed up for a shift. The security guards were thorough, too, opening my backpack – huge and packed with books and supplies – every time. It made me late for my shift a few times and I got spoken to about it, but I was racing from class and had just enough time to hoof it there every day. One day I saw a co-worker of mine walk in while I was being searched. She held her clear backpack up to the guards; they looked it over, and waved her through.
I bought one that night.
My new clear backpack is awesome. It’s made of tough, clear plastic that handles all my books and sharp, bizarre educational implements with aplomb (a word I just learned) but it’s got these stylin’ pink accents I love. It fits everything, easy, and when I spilled an entire tube of india ink in it, cleanup was a matter of running the dorm shower, dousing the bag, and drying it off. My books are all dyed blue, of course, but not everything in this world can be made of clear plastic, I suppose.
Now I breeze through security everywhere, not just at work. It’s amazing! If I were to apply my hourly wage to the time I’ve saved being able to just hold this clear backpack up to security guards everywhere and be waved through, I’d be rich. Well, no, considering my wages, no, I wouldn’t be rich. I’d be richer, though. I’m considering this to be a lesson from the University of Life. Check it out here!