Have you ever had a job that you really hated? I mean really, truly, despised. Summer as a camp counselor? Stocking shelves at your local grocery store? Working — and I’m sorry if you ever had to — retail?
No doubt, a lot of you are nodding their heads feverishly in agreement, flashing back to your high school days or even thinking of the job you hold right now. But fret not. You can have a job that’s worry-free, makes it possible for you to be an employee and a sane student, offers lots to choose from, and gives you real-world experiences for the dreaded adult life. Whether you want to be placed randomly or you come with a request, there is a job for everyone. We really have access to the best possible jobs right now through campus work study.
I’ve had three paying jobs in my lifetime: student librarian during high school, summer student counselor/den mom here at Arcadia, and working at the Office of International Affairs. I say “paying” because prior to this, I was (basically) a lumberjack for a few years. It’s true! Ask anyone who lived near me when I was growing up. Troves of huge tree trunks were scattered throughout the yard, all cut up and stacked by yours truly. After that, though, I was done with manual labor, so I got a job at the county library.
But coming to college, I wanted a change. I mean, I don’t plan on spending the rest of my life moving from library to library around the world. Luckily, after getting involved in my freshman year with the International Peer Associate League (IPAL) and participating in events with international students, I was asked to work in the Office of International Affairs (OIA). Rather than ramble about how much I love my job, instead I’ve devised a list of the best aspects of a work-study job.
Flexibility. There is something magical in the name “work study,” because while it means one who works (eh), it has that constant reminder of that they are still studying (still, eh). So you have more opportunity to pick what works for you. Before the semester starts, we get an email asking when we want to work. Simple as that. At my office, we have a number of people working so if we have a work conflict, it’s as simple as finding someone to cover for you.
Experience. Even though I know the staff of the OIA well doesn’t mean I’m expected to work any less. Working in an office now gives me the sort work experience that could be helpful in the future. I make flyers, work in Excel (people actually use Excel, it’s true) and other programs, and run errands.
Fun opportunities. I have had the benefit and pleasure of planning and executing events. Whether it’s making a flyer for a lecture, checking and rechecking lists before ceremonies, or being one of the main planners, being able to attend these events and see them go well is gratifying. And events are part of the strategy for many companies, so nothing like learning skills that have high value for the future.
There also are unusual jobs that pay, like blogging for the school.
If you want to take the “poor” out of “poor college student” and chip away at that semester bill while you feed yourself and put a few extra dollars in your pocket, I sincerely suggest you head over to the One-Stop Shop and get on work study. Just don’t try for OIA — I can’t have people trying to take my spot.