Video: Oxford college student works two restaurant jobs to pay the bills

Ali Watts
Oxford Stories

Sophia Petruskevich, 20, is a junior at the University of Mississippi majoring in psychology. Petruskevich lived in Pickerington, Ohio, until she age 15 when her family was relocated to Tupelo.

“Moving to Mississippi was a really big change culturally,” Petruskevich said. While she is grateful for the move now, she was not thrilled about moving to another state and leaving all of her childhood friends.

Petruskevich’s parents taught her at age 16 about the struggles of adulthood, and she has been working to pay her own bills since she moved to Tupelo in high school. Petruskevich said she pays her own rent, cell phone bill, car insurance, utility bills, and medical insurance.

She works two jobs in Oxford to pay all her bills. She has worked at Old Venice Pizza Company for over two years as a server, and she has worked at Bottle Tree Bakery for around six months as a server.


Server Sophia Petruskevich at Bottletree Bakery in Oxford. Photo by Ali Watts.

“I have been working two jobs since I was 16 in high school and paying all of my bills since then anyways,” Petruskevich adds, “so it has just been more of an adjustment with my education more so than anything.”

Being a full-time student and full-time employee, Petruskevich is no stranger to the difficulties of adulthood. Petruskevich’s family all moved back to Ohio after she graduated high school, so she is currently living in Mississippi without any of her family.

Petruskevich’s parents firmly believed the only way to truly prepare their children for the future is to live and learn on your own. At the time of the move, Petruskevich was angry her parents were not only moving her to a different state, but she was also upset about being forced into adulthood so quickly.

“It has been really difficult,” Petruskevich said, “you know, especially this day and age. College is really hard. Working is really hard, and paying your bills is really hard, especially when you are this young.”


Server Sophia Petruskevich at Bottletree Bakery in Oxford. Photo by Ali Watts.

Over the years, Petruskevich has become grateful for her parent’s decision to let her live and learn on her own, and she even agreed with her parents that these struggles will help her in the long run.

“It is definitely worth it to have that kind of life experience and life skills set in early on,” Petruskevich says, “instead of learning about it after college, which is a blessing and a curse.”

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