#maximumwage: ‘When minimum wage doesn’t cover the basics, it’s time for a change’

Updated
Credit: Katherine Peterson
Credit: Katherine Peterson

My name is Katherine Peterson. I’m from Virginia, and just started college. I spent the last eight months working at Panda Express with the hopes of saving money for school.

Currently I have $345 in my bank account.

It’s not like I have a bunch of bills to pay either; I don’t even drive a car or have to pay for gas money! I worked part time while I finished up high school, and yeah, there were a couple times where I would be a normal teenager and spend money. But for the most part I was a responsible person with my money.

Panda Express paid me $8.50 an hour. For a state where the minimum wage is $7.25, I thought was pretty good.

I was a part time worker, so I expected not to get as many hours as some others, that’s only fair. During the school year I made a decent amount of money, working about 20 hours each week.

However, during the summer, I had paychecks with as many as 6 or 9 hours on them, and I got paid biweekly! Right as I started purchasing all of my supplies to help start college, I wasn’t making any money.

I’m one of the lucky ones. My parents were able to help me out. But not everybody has that luxury. If part time students were paid at a much higher rate, we would be more able to afford all of the ridiculous fees that come with college. And it’s not just part time workers. Many of my co-workers at Panda were full time employees, and they had to work more than one job to pay their bills.

When minimum wage doesn’t cover the basics, it’s time for a change.

Katherine Peterson is from Virginia and a Freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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#maximumwage: 'When minimum wage doesn't cover the basics, it's time for a change'

Updated