Work-study jobs have long been a source of employment for students on campus, looking to either pay tuition or make a little spending money.
Most students admit that it’s the desk jobs that they hope to land. These, however, may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
People find ups and downs to every job though, and freshman Caleb Hawks, who works at the Ramaker Library circulation desk, has identified these aspects in his position.
“There’s not much to do sometimes, so I can catch up on my homework,” Hawks said. “But, my least favorite thing is that it gets pretty boring. On some nights, mainly Fridays, there will be only one or two people in the library, so I’m just sitting here.”
Hawks’ duties at the library include checking out books and laptops for students, as well as helping locate reference materials. On occasion, he has to shut everything down while closing the library.
The most beneficial aspect of his job, he says, is learning where to find research materials.
“I don’t have to ask anyone to find Interlibrary Loan books or any other stuff,” Hawks said. “I can do it myself.”
Working another desk job, freshman Heidi Gritters also benefits from her work-study position as the mini-gym desk attendant in the Rowenhorst Student Center.
“My favorite part is seeing and talking to all the people who go by. I meet a lot of new people,” Gritters said. “And I also get a lot of homework done.”
Gritters admitted that, often times, there’s not much for her to do at the desk, so she feels unproductive.
“Sometimes I go a while without someone needing my help,” Gritters said. “A lot of the teams are using the RSC when I’m working and they don’t usually need anything like other members do, so often I just get to sit and smile.”
As an intramural activities crew member for SAC, sophomore Jacob Van Steenwyk sets up for the intramural activities, referees and makes sure the activities run smoothly. He also records scores and organizes paperwork for the next day’s activities. In his opinion, there is only one downside to his job.
“I would say the worst part is that people don’t always respect what you have to say. They argue calls and take things too seriously,” Van Steenwyk said. “It’s almost like playing intramurals is their tryout for some professional team. People are just disrespectful to the person they are expected to listen to about the rules. It just gets frustrating.”
Despite these frustrations, Van Steenwyk finds many ways to enjoy working this position.
“I love sports,” Van Steenwyk said. “To be able to organize things and keep the game enjoyable for everyone is the best part.”
There are, however, several jobs on campus that have reputations for being undesirable. One of these is working in the Cafe, but sophomore Audrey Hagge sees both pros and cons when it comes to her job as a student manager there.
“It stinks that I can’t do my homework during work like other jobs on campus,” Hagge said. “But the pay is the best and the hours are really flexible. You can get tons of hours or not very many, which is nice.”
One useful aspect of her position is that Hagge is learning about relationships and responsibility, which she believes will be helpful in life after college. She works to find the delicate balance between making sure a job gets done and not being overly demanding.
“In having a leadership role, I’ve learned a lot about working with people,” Hagge said. “It’s good to have roles of responsibility.”
Although cleaning the bathrooms and hallways is quite possibly the least coveted work-study job on campus, sophomore Laura Huls has a very optimistic view of her job. There are, however, some things she wishes she could change.
“The fact that some girls disrespect that I’m there to clean and sanitize, not there to pick up after them is the least favorite thing about my job,” Huls said. “People forget that I’m there to clean and sanitize, not babysit.”
However, Huls sees many benefits in her position.
“The money is beneficial and on top of that, I started using a routine,” she said. “I’ve learned to use the proper steps to sanitize and take precautionary measures. I’ve learned to take care of others, as well as myself.”
Whether it be in the library, RSC or cafeteria, students are employed in nearly every office on campus. Most students feel that every job has its ups and downs.
No matter the work-study position, students have always found a way to make the best of the less appealing aspects of their jobs. Huls has found a particularly creative way to spice up her job.
“The best thing about my job is that I get to spend an hour a day jamming out to music and dancing with my mop,” Huls said. “I get to sing as I fill toilet paper rolls. It’s bathroom karaoke.”