Why Getting an On-Campus Job Was the Best Thing I Ever Did

When your bank account tells you it's time to get a job, look no further than your own university.
July 20, 2017
7 mins read

Most of the time, being a full-time college student can feel like you’re working a full time job: five or six classes a week, clubs, fraternity/sorority life, volunteering, homework, internships, social life and, if you’re lucky, maybe some sleep every once in awhile. It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes, so the idea of adding another thing to your daily to-do list seems practically impossible, right?

Well, let’s say it’s late October and you’ve been eating the food from the dining hall for three straight months and you just can’t take it anymore, so you decide you should treat yourself and go out to eat. All of your friends agree it’s a great idea, much needed and much deserved. But, you know who says no to this splendid night out? Your bank account. You barely have enough money for a loaf of bread, let alone a whole dinner out.

You’re in college now, slowly learning how to be a functional adult, and what better time to go ease away from relying on your parents financially and start making some money of your own. It’s time to get a job. I know, I know, you might be thinking who really has the time to commit to a job at this time in your life, but honestly, you do.

The key to college is time management, and once you figure out what works best for you, you’re golden. Freshman year is probably the most difficult year to balance both work and school because you haven’t quite figured out how juggle all of the components of college life, so if you can, wait until sophomore year to look for a job. By the beginning of your second year, you’ll know how much time you really need to get all of your work done, and how much time you actually spend procrastinating, watching Netflix and going out.

Realistically, you probably have time for a part time job, and even though you would rather spend that time free time napping, your bank account will thank you. Thankfully, in order to find the perfect job, you don’t have to look much further than right in front of you—your campus has plenty of employment opportunities, and most of them aren’t particularly difficult.

I applied for the position of a student caller over the summer going into my sophomore year, and a few days after a brief interview, I received an email saying I got the job. I didn’t think much of my new position when I first started, and I had no idea just how many benefits an on-campus job would present for me.

Image via NWC Stories

First off, my new job paid really well, which gave me some financial independence from my parents. I now had a little extra spending money so that I could go out and enjoy my beloved free time with my friends without worrying about getting a low balance text from my bank the next day. I made more than minimum wage, and it wasn’t a stressful or difficult job either. Your school understands that you are a student, so they typically refrain from giving students more than they can handle, and thankfully, will always tailor your work schedule around your class schedule. You don’t have to worry about not getting enough hours because your class times for the new semester no longer line up with your work hours, which would be a problem if you worked somewhere off campus. School does the all of the tedious scheduling work for you, so all you have to do is show up and do your job.

As a student caller, my job was to call alumni and parents to discuss new, exciting things happening on campus, see what they’re up to in their careers, and to ask for donations to help make valuable improvement to our campus. Sure, a lot of people hung up on me or simply didn’t pick up the phone at all, but I got the opportunity to speak with a lot of different alumni from all different majors who now have experience in the real world, and they offered me a lot of really helpful advice I never would have otherwise received. I heard many stories about finding employment after college, how to handle rejection, and what it’s like to be on your own once your complete your schooling, all of which are valuable lessons as a current college student.

Another great perk of an on-campus job is that you don’t have to drive anywhere, which saves you money you potentially would have spent on gas. Traffic can also be a real problem in a lot of college towns, so that’s one less thing during your busy day that you need to worry about. Plus, many schools have limited parking and require you to purchase a parking pass, so if you decided not to bring your car to campus, it’s not an issue.

Also, since your work schedule will follow your school calendar, you will never have to work over any breaks or long weekends, so your job won’t ever interfere with your much needed time off from classes.  I know the last thing anyone wants to do right after finals week is worry you’re going to be called into work the second you finally get the chance to relax, and if you’re anything like me, midterms and finals have a weird way of making you feel like a sleep deprived zombie, so even if you did have to work, you probably wouldn’t be on top of your game anyway. In addition, if your classes get cancelled for a snow day, then you get the day off of work, too. Instead of having to drag your warm, blanket burrito-ed self out of bed and into your car to drive through the snow to an off-campus job, you get to stay in all day and watch movies and drink hot chocolate (It’s awesome).  

Finally, you’ll get the chance to meet so many new people and make a lot of new friends outside of your building and your major that you may have never met otherwise. The communications department on my campus is small in comparison to some other majors, so my job introduced me to more students and allowed me to interact with people of all different majors, concentrations and interests.  

You are going to have to work at a “real” job for the rest of your life, so why not take the opportunity you have in college to work an on-campus job and enjoy all its perks? Your roommate who has to drive to her minimum wage job at the mall through the pouring rain during your fall break will be severely jealous of you, as you lay in your bed and enjoy your smart decision to work for your university.

Alison McCarthy, University of New Haven

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Alison McCarthy

University of New Haven

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