Full-time student, part-time employee
Students search for job opportunities on and off Grounds
Months before she stepped on Grounds as a student for the first time, first-year College student Jennifer Baez had a plan. For her, having a job while at school was non-negotiable, and to give herself an advantage she applied to jobs before the school year started.
“I actually applied to a lot of positions — over 20 — before the school year started,” Baez said. “I think that gave me an advantage, because my name and my résumé were already circulating prior to them hiring people.”
Baez now works nearly 20 hours a week at both Alderman Library’s circulation desk and Commerce School’s help desk to fulfill her work study. Students through the Federal Work-Study Program receive paychecks that are funded 70 percent by the federal government and 30 percent by the University. Awards are capped at $4000 per year, or $3500 for graduate students.
After a semester-and-a-half, Baez appreciates the perks of working on Grounds and said she believes her school experience has been shaped by these positions.
“The atmosphere is actually kind of fun,” Baez said. “I like talking to my co-workers. They’re all around my age and we have things in common, so the time goes by pretty fast.”
Baez also manages the women’s basketball team — which means she needs to use any and all opportunities to get ahead on her schoolwork.
“[When you work] on Grounds, the employers understand that you’re a student, so they give you time to do work when there really isn’t anything to do,” Baez said. “I feel like if I were working off Grounds, where you’re not in a college environment, I wouldn’t have as much time to do homework — and I really take advantage of that.”
Fourth-year College student Virginia Gazewood also holds a job on Grounds. She began working at Memorial Gym first semester of her first year.
“[The gym] was the only place that I applied, because I didn’t know that there was anything else,” Gazewood said. “I got an interview and then I got the job — and I’ve been [working] there ever since.”
Now four years a University employee, Gazewood said her job has exposed her to more of the University community.
“I really love working on Grounds, because you really get to know the University community and you are part of the University in a different capacity,” Gazewood said. “I get to interact with professors and students on a daily basis [as] a student and also [as] an employee of the University.”
Though she was able to secure a position early in her first year, Gazewood said she knows finding a job on Grounds can be difficult.
“I think, depending on when you start looking, that it can be very challenging,” Gazewood said. “Especially when you work on Grounds, there are certain points in the semester when they are looking for people more than others.”
After sending in her résumé to multiple places on Grounds and competing with numerous upperclassmen applicants, first-year College student A’kitriana Grayson decided to look for job opportunities elsewhere. She quickly secured a job at the retail store J.Jill on Barracks Road, where she works as a sales associate.
Working 20 hours a week, Grayson said the commute to Barracks can be difficult. The retail business is less understanding of her needs as a student than an on-Grounds employer may be, Grayson said — though she noted the experience was still a valuable one.
“If you work at a store or restaurant that you like, working off Grounds can be great,” Grayson said. “And you get more professional experience.”