Babysitting to get by, students share their experiences
Other than tuition, books, meal plans and room and board, college can come with unexpected fees. From travel and art supplies, to groceries and laundry, costs add up. Some students have turned to babysitting as a way to cover these expenses.
Nicole Phin, a senior physician assistant major, used SitterCity.com to find her babysitting jobs.
“SitterCity is a website that puts together families in the area and sitters.” In addition to babysitting, Phin said that she held a campus job. “But my babysitting jobs provided me extra cash in my pocket that I could splurge with,” she said.
Phin said that she mostly spent her earned money on gas, groceries and “going out.”
Sitter City was not the only way Phin found jobs; she also got referred to families by friends. Emily Slate, a senior nursing major, started babysitting through this method.
“The family (my friend) babysat for had a neighbor who needed a babysitter so I babysat for the neighbors,” Slate said. “Then they shared my contact info with friends so I babysit for multiple families in the Summit area.”
Not only was babysitting financially beneficial for Phin and Slate, it also offered them a break from campus and student life.
“Sometimes it’s really just nice to be with a family and in a home even if it’s not your home or with your family when you’re in college,” Phin said. “It’s nice to be with kids and not college students all the time.”
“It’s a fun job because it gives you a chance to be a kid again,” Slate said. “I can bring the kids to the park and enjoy the weather.”
Slate also said that she built strong relationships with the families she works with, resulting in rewarding experiences.
“I feel at home now at the places that I babysit because I know the families so well and they have gotten to know me really well too,” Slate said. “I even went on a trip to Boston with one of the families so that I could babysit for the girls while (the parents) were at a wedding.”
However, Slate advises students to “be honest with yourself” when taking on a babysitting job. “Do not babysit for toddlers if you really prefer to babysit older children,” she said. “Look for a job that would interest you.”
Tiffany Do can be reached at email@example.com.