I know it takes a lot of bravery to be honest, and to write down a hard experience. As an older millennial, I feel really bad for kids like you. You guys were sold such a bill of goods, while all the rules changed around us.
I know there are lots and lots of voices on this issue of a living wage right now. And there are many examples of what other countries are doing to fix this problem. The US is having a really hard time because, well, voices like yours are drowned out by others, with more money and access, talking about change.
But I’m glad you are thinking about these things now. It’s not easy to start a career in this day and age. It’s even harder when you do everything the “right” way and find out it doesn’t matter. But keep your head up, dear. Us English majors are resilient. Help others. And keep being brave with your story.
Despite what many of the commentators will tell you, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. It’s best to do them when we are young, so we can learn and grow. But it is also best not to forget our mistakes, because empathy is sorely needed in this world. I hope you have family to love you through life, through this experience and the many others to follow.