Entertainment And News

18-Year-Old Uses Her College Savings To Buy Restaurant Where She Worked As A Dishwasher — 'You Don't Need College To Make A Decent Living'

Photo: YouTube
Samantha Frye

A recent high school graduate decided to opt out of choosing the traditional path for her future and instead, invested her money and time into something else.

Samantha Frye, an 18-year-old from Ohio, revealed that while she tried to give college a chance, it became evident to her that spending four years to pursue a degree was not for her, and she only came to discover that after visiting home during her first semester and going back to the restaurant she had worked when she was in high school.

Frye used her college savings to purchase the restaurant she had worked at.

According to USA Today, Frye had worked at Rosalie's Restaurant in Strasburg at 16 as a dishwasher. "I started working when I was 14 and then when I was 16, I got two jobs, one of them being here," Frye said.

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"I eventually had three jobs at one point. And then I worked with my dad. So, basically, I just worked a lot." Once Frye graduated, she went off to study environmental engineering at Ohio State University, but when she came back home during winter break, she received some devastating news.

Frye learned that the owners at Rosalie's were planning to sell the restaurant. After hearing that, Frye decided to follow her instincts and told the owners that she would take their place from them instead.

"I was thinking that maybe this was something I wanted to do," Frye told WNEM-TV. "I had savings because I was saving for college, so I had quite a bit of money saved away. And I was like, I could possibly do this."

Upon leaving school, Frye was able to pay the down payment on the restaurant and became the official owner in April 2023. While Frye admitted that becoming a restaurant owner at 18 wasn't in her plan at all, she's incredibly happy doing it. The teen now spends her time running a business.

"Right now, this is so new; this is my priority," she told WEWS-TV. "Five days of the week, I'm in here. If not in here, I'm back there doing prep. The other two days, I'm in the office doing meetings with the sales reps."

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Frye's mother was hesitant at first about her daughter putting all of her college money into a restaurant.

While speaking with USA Today, Frye's mother, Brandi Beitzel, confessed that she was on the fence about Frye owning a business instead of completing college, as that was the future she had envisioned for her daughter.

"My mom, she was pretty angry at first, because her dream was for me was to finish college," Frye said, which her mother echoed. "I was not on board with her leaving OSU and taking on such a huge responsibility at her age," Beitzel told the publication.

"But over time, I warmed up to it and realized that it might not have been the path I envisioned [for] her on but it's the path she wanted to take."

Frye's decision was also praised by the other restaurant employees, including Leanna Gardner who told WEWS-TV that she admired Frye's unwavering choice even if it went against the normal traditions that most high school graduates pursue.

"I just really think she's a great example of a young lady that is following her dreams and doing what she loves," Gardner told the news outlet. 

According to data acquired by NBC News, there are 4 million fewer students in college now than there were 10 years ago, something many attribute to the pandemic, a dip in the number of Americans under 18, and a strong labor market that is sucking young people straight into the workforce.

"You don't need college to make a decent living, and I think that's what a lot of people think nowadays," Frye pointed out. "Follow your instinct, honestly. If it feels right, just do it."

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Nia Tipton is a Brooklyn-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.