We graduate students rely heavily on the minimum wage to survive. We are adults and not reliant on our parents. But at the same time, we are loaded down with classes and unpaid internships that fill our 9-5 hours. These internships, ranging from emergency psychiatry services to homeless outreach programs, develop our important community work skills- but are also mandatory, making it nearly impossible to work a salaried position while pursuing a degree. We end up in jobs with flexible hours such as waitressing, retail, or childcare, jobs that routinely pay minimum wage.
We rely on this minimum wage to pay our rent, our groceries, our transportation to all of our responsibilities. But while the minimum wage is so low, working in all our free hours is the only way to make enough money to live in the wildly expensive areas surrounding most Boston colleges- let alone saving up against our student debt. I cannot put words to how exhausting this is- there are nights that I just sit in my car and cry because I can’t imagine having the energy even to drive home. This is not necessary. Graduate students – and all workers – need a wage we can live on.