More and more students now have to work while they’re in college. It doesn’t matter if the extra money is for beer or for books—the rising cost of education is forcing some students into the workforce before they graduate. Between classes, studying, and socializing, most college kids don’t have too much free time—which makes choosing the right job even more important. You need to get more bang for your buck.
Luckily, many college jobs do offer something else, and no, I’m not talking about a feeling of accomplishment or a sense of responsibilty. When is the last time you heard anyone who has bills to pay say that they work simply to feel better about themselves? No, I’m talking about concrete things: a chance to network, a new skill to add to your resume, or simply time to study. If you do your homework, you can find a job that’s more than just a paycheck.
Finding the right on-campus job
- Campus career and employment office. Not just for students preparing to graduate—the campus career center usually has listings of on-and off-campus jobs.
- Student union. Most student unions hire students—at the front desk and in coffee shops, bookstores, and dining halls—jobs may also be posted in common areas.
- Ask around. Whenever you are looking for a job one of the best ways is through word of mouth. If you know where you want to work, talk to students who already work there. Put the word out, you never know who might be able to help you.
Common jobs around campus
Library. Working in the library might be boring but you’ll probably have time to study. At most schools the pay is decent and shelving books can be good exercise.
Dining hall. Check if your school provides free dining hall cards to the students who work there, because free food is definitely a good perk. Dining halls usually have a lot of job opportunities, this means there are different positions and you can probably move around if you get bored. It also means there are a lot of people to meet, so if you’re a social person, this may be the job for you. Smelling like greasy food may be a downside, but most dining hall jobs pay well.
Athletic Hall. There may be many different jobs at an athletic hall. If you’re in shape maybe you can teach a Yoga class. This way you can workout while you work. This may be stating the obvious but it’s also a great way to meet jocks and jockettes. Of course, the downside is dirty towels and stinky locker rooms. If you work at a desk checking people in you may have time to study. And if you work for a team you might get the chance to travel with the team, and get paid to do it.
Film projectionist. Free movies, yet you’ll probably have to watch them over and over and over. If you can tune them out, you should have plenty of study time.
Teacher’s Assistant (TA).This is a great job for anyone who wants a foot in the door in his or her academic department, a chance to kiss up to a professor, or the opportunity to pull rank on freshmen. These jobs are usually paid but some schools allow you to choose a “for credit” option.
Tutor. Being a private tutor is often the best paid job on campus. You can contact the athletic department and see what they need—most athletes don’t have as much time to study yet need to keep their grades up. Or try a walk-in tutor center—these centers pay you whether or not anyone comes to be tutored. If no one comes in then you have plenty of time to study. This is also a great way to meet people.
Resident Advisor (RA). “Free housing.” Two magic words that make this sound like the be-all-end-all job of jobs, but don’t be fooled, being a RA is hard work. You have to deal with everyone’s drama pretty much all of the time and after telling more than a few drunken freshmen to keep it down, you might not be the most popular person in the dorm. But with free housing, who needs friends?
Emily Torres is a graduate of LIfe’s a Bitch Books.