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Minimum wage puts college graduates at disadvantage
STATES SHOULD ADJUST TO
BAD ECONOMY, JOB MARKET the recession, and continues
they erode in value each year."
The cost of living has risen ever
A gallon of milk costs $4.59. A gallon of gas
costs $3.75. And a loaf of bread costs $5.00,
but the federal minimum wage rate stands at
How are college
graduates supposed to
support themselves with
such low pay?
JVlinimum wage rates
vary by state and leave
some without a base line
wage. Currently, in North
Carolina, the federal
minimum wage rate is
$7.25 per hour. Some states
have raised their minimum
wage rates, while others
have not. Recently,
according to the National Employment Law
Project, 10 states have begun to use an index
which adjusts the minimum wage annually
to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
"The remaining states and the federal
government have not yet indexed their
minimum wages," says NELP. "As a result.
to increase due to the poor
economic state of our country.
Career Counselor for Adults
Vivian Lutian discusses the
problem at hand.
"(The) economy has stalled,
there is a lack of jobs, and the
unemployment rate is high
(at) 8.6 percent," said Lutian.
"Since the minimum wage has
remained stable, I do not think
it's going to present a problem.
The larger problem is that
economy has stalled. And so,
especially here in N.C. we
don't have the number of
jobs available that other
parts of the country do."
wage staying the
same, the amount will
affect people far and near,
especidly students who
plan to graduate this spring.
Minimum wage should be raised.
If the bad economy is affecting the
entire coimtry then all states
should adjust their minimum
needs to be raised,"
says senior Amy
I wish states
it shouldn't be a
'minimum' wage but
This affects college
students as well as
families. In McMin's
such a low wage, many
of her co-workers had
to use food stamps from
the government to pay
for groceries to support
On the other hand,
many college students
have loans to pay off
after they graduate and
will be affected similarly.
It" s going to directly
influence my lifestyle," says senior Jordan
Poirier. "I have human needs like food, shelter
and gas and those products all cost a lot of
money. Plus, I have to pay back an exorbitant
amount of student loans to the government. I
just don't see it being realistic."
But, there is an alternative to settling for
a job that pays minimum wage. College
graduates should aim for, their dream job
first rather than applying for a restaurant or
"The very best way to find a job nowadays
is through networking and contacts," says
Lutian. "It's the people who know you, who
you know or the people they know. It's not in
the contacts who are in your immediate circle,
but your friends contacts in which you find
the critical person who can give you a job. Its
word of mouth from someone who knows
you who can get you that job."
Certainly, the unemployment rate can be
discouraging when starting a job search, but
McMin gives us an important reminder.
"My mind needs stimulation and I mean
more than memorizing produce codes," says
McMin. "I do not want to be a waitress or have
a service job. That is why I came to college."
With that said, until the wage rises, it"s time
to network and let the contads flow.
* -t'* ;
• .• ■
HeaRh center: a cause fer cemplaint
Past the lake and tucked away in the comer of campus is
a place students and faculty may find themselves hobbling
towards with twisted ankles, complaints of stomach aches, or
maybe just high hopes of getting out of dass.
It's the Milner Student Health &
As with most services on campus, there
are mixed feelings about its helpfuln^ and
accessibility. It seems, however, that there are
more complaints than praise when it comes
to people's overall experiences at the Health
Why is that exactly? A lack of proper care?
Scheduling restraints? An unwelcoming
environment? Organizational issues?
Apparently, depending on whom you ask,
it coifid be a matter of one—or all — of these
issu^. Quite frankly, the Student Health
Center needs to step up its game.
Senior Taylor Shaw, for example, feels disappointed with the
services the Student Health Center provided — or lack thereof.
"One time, I spilled boiling water all over myself, and I was
in serious pain, and my friend ran to the Student Health Center
for help, and they refused to come help me," said Shaw. "I
was outraged. It was a serious situation and they should have
taken the responsibility as health-care providers at this school
to provide help."
Shaw isn't the only one frustrated by the lack of treatment
"I went to the health center because I had been coughing
up blood, and they told me it was just allergies," says junior
Alejandro Salcedo. "But when I went to an actual physician, it
turned out to be a serious medical condition."
In addition to diagnostic conflicts, many students feel irritated
by not being able to be treated by the nurse practitioner. Without
the proper diagnosis and treatment, it almost seems pointless to
even haul your sick butt all the way to the Health Center in the
In response to these complaints. Director of Student Health
Helen Rice explains that the amount of time they have a nurse
practitioner is pretty standard.
"In the nine yeare I've been here, we haven't had (a nurse
practitioner) full time," said Rice in a phone interview. "If s very
expensive to have them full time. Most small colleges across
North Carolina only have them intermittently, depending on
where they are in location to doctor's offices or clinics. Most run
pretty much like we do."
Obviously, Rice agrees that it would be preferable to have a
nurse practitioner aroimd all of the time, but it just isn't possible,
and thc^ who work in the center have no control over that.
There are other issues, however, that they do have control
over that are not being properly addressed. For instanre, I have
heard several students complain about a lack of organization.
One student reported that the center lost all of her paper work.
Others have felt unwelcomed and neglected when going to
the center. A sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous,
felt extremely discouraged by the lack of help she received from
the Student Health Center.
"Td been throwing up, hadn't slept for three days, had
incredible headaches, and couldn't swallow, but since the nurse
practitioner wasn't fiiere, and I didn't have a fever, I wasn't able
to get a note for class," said the anonymous sophomore. "I said,
'You have to help me out... my teacher knows I'm sick, she just
wants proof that I came.'
"I asked if I could just get a handwritten note saying I was
here, and she dosed the door in my face while I was crying. I
begged for help and was rudely told to go to urgent care, which
was useless because I physically couldn't even walk there. It was
so unhelpful and uncomforting."
No system is ever perfect, but it definitely seems like some
serious improvements should be made in order to make the
community feel happier and healthier. Isn't that what the Health
Center stands for in the first place?
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