When a college student first steps out from mommy and daddy’s roof, he or she is bound to face a variety of challenges. There’s the newfound freedom, complete with a series of heavy consequences; the challenge to live with a total stranger; the college level course load—the list goes on.
One of the most challenging aspects to college life for many students is handling money, or the lack thereof.
Some students find work because they need extra cash for books, food, and booze. Others feel pressure to work because they’ve found themselves with the responsibility to pay for their education. Whatever the situation may be, many students find themselves looking for work.
Jen Ferrell, director of Student Involvement at Keene State College, said she has seen countless students benefit from maintaining a job through college.
“Working during college goes beyond the money,” she said. “Students learn to prioritize tasks and decide what’s important and what’s not.”
Amanda Foskett, assistant director in the Office of Financial Aid, reported KSC positioned over 1,300 jobs on campus in the 2010-2011 academic year.
Ferrell said the L.P. Young Student Center alone employed approximately 140 students this past semester.
Ferrell spoke highly of students who apply for campus jobs when she likened those who work on campus to students who are involved with KSC clubs and sports.
“Staying at KSC for work is another way to get connected to the campus,” she continued, “Students end up feeling a sense of identity.”
Ferrell also made the point to recommend on campus jobs as a tool for networking. Ferrell said connecting with faculty and KSC resources brings a student a long way.
KSC freshman Tyler Huntley works at the Info Desk in the student center.
“I wanted a job so I could save money to go here,” Huntly said, referring to KSC. “I also have some extra spending money, but I wanted to help my parents with the cost of school, too.”
Huntly said he chose to apply for a job on campus for convenience purposes. Huntly said he has seen the benefits Ferrell mentioned to working on campus, specifically within the student center.
“Since working here, I’ve learned a lot about what’s going on around campus. It’s given me the chance to learn about clubs and other things to get involved with,” he concluded.
KSC sophomore Kristen Hunyadi has worked at the Circulation Desk in Mason Library for two semesters.
Hunyadi’s on-campus employment began when KSC designated her work study.
College work study is a form of financial aid given by the KSC Financial Aid Office to students who demonstrate financial need.
Foskett said the KSC work study program applied to approximately 50% of the 1,300 on campus jobs positions last year, leaving the remaining positions for the student hourly program, where KSC pays non-work study students for their on campus jobs.
Hunyadi stated several reasons for her decision to take a work study position.
Hunyadi said, “First of all, I don’t have to ask my parents for money.”
She continued, “And I think it looks good on resumes to show you were able to maintain a job alongside your course load.”
Hunyadi added her position gives her eight to ten hours a week, with two required extended hour shifts per semester.
Hunyadi admitted maintaining a job helps her stay on top of her schoolwork.
“I don’t have classes on Friday, but I do have a Friday shift, and that forces me to not be lazy on my day off. I go to work, and then sometimes stay in the library and actually get my own work done.”
KSC sophomore Brandon Chabot agreed with Hunyadi that holding a job helps him focus on his schoolwork.
Chabot’s story differs from Hunyadi’s in many ways, however. First, Chabot works off campus, and not just for one employer, but two.
Chabot works 10-15 hours a week as a pin chaser at the Brattleboro Bowling Alley in Vermont on weekend nights. And when the long winter months roll in, he dedicates over forty hours a week at Mount Snow.
Chabot spoke of his work and said, “A positive to working off-campus is that it breaks up who I see everyday,” he said. “It gives me a little freedom.”
Chabot stated the cost of gas as the one negative to working off-campus. Still, he remains motivated to continue his working lifestyle.
“I’ve got to pay my bills. I’m trying to live on my own, help my dad out with some costs,” he continued, “I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now. It’s difficult, and definitely not for everyone.”
Chabot explained he finds himself fatigued often, and consequently, his grades suffer at times.
Hunyadi and Huntly serve as examples of students who received the rewards of maintaining a job. Chabot exemplified the discipline the student must maintain in order to balance work and school.
“When it comes to school, social life, and work, you have to pick two out of the three,” he said. “Right now,” he continued, “I’m fixated on making money, so I can enjoy the leisurely things later on.”
Julie Conlon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org