By Joseph Bartholomew

Going into college, I had never had a job. In high school, during the summer going into my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with cancer, at the age of 15. This prevented me from living the normal life of a high schooler as I was pulled from my classes and began treatment.

I would continue classes at home with a private tutor coming over twice a week for a couple hours to deliver school work to me and help me finish my assignments. There were days when I would be too ill from the chemotherapy to do anything but sleep, but I managed through the nine-month intensive chemotherapy regime and was able to return to school my junior year. Unfortunately, I would return to at home schooling to finish my junior and senior year of high school due to surgeries, one on my hip and one on my ankle. Thankfully, I was able to graduate on time and was able to go to the school of my choosing, the University of Missouri.

Being an out-of-state student from Texas, I was overwhelmed with my new way of living. My mom was originally against me going so far away, as she worried about my health and overall wellbeing. Before I officially signed up for classes and became an undergrad at Missouri, my mom and I had to do a lot of homework.

First, we had to find an oncologist near the university that would see me for my regularly scheduled checkups. Next, we looked into the out of state compensation and if there was any way to lower the tuition bill. We found that the University of Missouri offers out of state students in state tuition if they live in Missouri over the summer to work in the state and make at least $2,000. I had to promise my mother that I would find a job in Missouri and live there over the summer to work. I was only allowed two weeks out of the state and had to deliver many documents to the university in order to qualify for in state tuition, including copies of every paycheck I received in Missouri, my apartment bill and my debit card bank statements.

Before I left Texas to begin my freshman year, I had scoped out a couple of jobs, but it was rather difficult to find jobs with my limitations. I could not do heavy lifting, as my ankle and hip had been badly affected by chemotherapy, causing the bones to have inadequate blood flow, resulting in two experimental surgeries. The surgeries had worked but doctors remain very cautious and warned me that I may never be able to run or ever do high impact activities. The one advantage I did have going into college is that I would have my car. I had a friend at home who told me about a job that he did on the side that also paid well, UberEats. I had finally found a job that I could do, all I would have to is drive in my car and pick up orders at restaurants and deliver them to their customers. It was the perfect job for me, the only problem was that UberEats would not arrive to Columbia until 2019. Luckily, I found another delivery company in Columbia that I could work at, OrderUp.

Over the summer, I lived in a four-bedroom townhouse and worked full-time as an OrderUp delivery driver. I would work 3-4 hours a day for 4-5 days a week. I was able to make great money when working during dinner time, around 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. I made over $2,000 and successfully qualified for in state tuition. By doing this, I had cut my monthly tuition bill by almost 75%.

Today, I now work at UberEats in Columbia, as OrderUp is now longer in existence. I do not work as much, but I no longer have to worry about expensive tuition bills. To save money, I chose to live in an off-campus apartment that has a shuttle that runs to the university. That way, I do not have to spend extra money on driving to school. I make enough money through work to pay for my own groceries while my mom and I pay for my monthly tuition bill and apartment bill. It has been difficult at times, but college has been a great experience for me and I would not change a thing.

Bartholomew is a junior at the University of Missouri.