NPR Story
3:11 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Teaching Swim Lessons Keeps Young Woman's Budget Afloat

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 8:11 am

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now this summer, we're hearing from young people who are having a tough time finding a job. One out of six new college graduates is underemployed - meaning, in this case, that they're working part-time or that they are considered to be underpaid for their education levels.

One of them is Alexis Powers, who is 22, just graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor's in anthropology. She doesn't have a nine-to-five job and is hustling to help support herself after recently moving out of her childhood home.

ALEXIS POWERS: Even though rent is super cheap at $500 a month, I still have to make money because if I don't, I'm going to be out on my bum. And that's not fun. I have done pet-sitting, house-sitting, babysitting. Any kind of sitting you can imagine, I've probably done it. I've worked on political campaigns. I have done crafts and photo shoots - any way that I can make extra money, I do. My main staple is swim lessons - the least glamorous job in the world.

Let's see. I have gotten a bloody lip, kicked in the stomach, kicked in the face, head butted. Particularly when you're teaching them to float on their back, their head is in close proximity to your own and they just whoosh.

It used to be if you had a bachelor's degree, it would be no problem to find a job. Now you find a job after you get a bachelor's degree that pays minimum-wage to fund grad school. And once you go to grad school, then you might have a chance to get a better job.

While it is not fun all the time, giving swim lessons is extremely rewarding. I can't tell you how many times a kid won't even put their face in the water, and I help them learn how to swim. It has actually influenced what I want to do in the future through public health because I would really like to continue working with kids because I realized how much I loved it.

INSKEEP: That's Alexis Powers in Atlanta, Georgia. She just applied to a global health program in nearby Decatur. And we're going to hear more from young adults on the hustle as our series continues. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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