Home2019-2020Issue 12Working WU students

Working WU students

Olivia Frenkel, Staff Writer

As we all know, higher education is not cheap. Books and tuition along with room and board, food and transportation come with costs that tend to add up very quickly as the years go on. The most common way to combat these expenses as a student is through part-time jobs.

Willamette offers many different on-campus employment opportunities, such as working for the Bistro or writing for the Collegian. The variety of jobs are seemingly endless. Students like Jordan Edner (‘23) and Corrine Pierson (‘22) are able to use their past work skills here at Willamette. Both currently work as  lifeguards at Sparks Pool and have enjoyed their experiences. 

“I’ve been a lifeguard before so I applied on Handshake and interviewed with the head lifeguard, Colin Hakeman (‘20), and then I got the job!” says Edner. “The pool generally isn’t too busy, so it’s pretty easy work.” 

The accessibility of on-campus jobs makes working much easier for students. For example, the Bearcat Chat team works in the basement of Smullin Hall, contacting Willamette Alumni for donations and keeping them informed about the school’s many endeavors and events. “Our work days are from six to nine, so it never interferes with school work or really any other activities,” said Jenna Harris (‘23). 

In addition to accessibility, many jobs are convenient in that they relate to students’ majors and intended career paths. Exercise and Health major Alex Hogan (‘20) has worked in the Sparks training room for the last year and a half. “One could say that I’m the gatekeeper of the training room,” he said, “Which just means that I make sure everyone signs in and gets helped, but I also do minor treatments.”

Off campus jobs are just as common. Layla Hughes (‘23) works 20 to 30 hours per week at Starbucks. “My favorite part about it so far is getting to know the people who live around Salem,” she said. It’s really nice to have the extra money for going out with friends.” 

Students also frequently fill retail jobs. Mercedes Hamilton (‘23) has worked at Kohl’s for the last five months and has enjoyed it thus far. “I’m usually scheduled both weekend days, so I occasionally take Saturday off so I can relax for a day,” said Hamilton. “But my coworkers are awesome, so it’s a lot of fun.” 

Aside from classic food and beverage or retail jobs, other students like Bryan Peck (‘20) have filled other less traditional but equally interesting jobs. Peck has recently been working as a caretaker for three foster children. “I generally guide them through their day and cook them dinner,” he said. “All three have different mental disabilities, so I’m there to make sure that they have everything they could possibly need throughout the day.”

Similarly, Anna Jones (‘22) works as a babysitter for a family who lives in Salem. “My hours vary week to week, depending on how busy the family is, but it’s generally very flexible.”

In addition to financial relief, working throughout college has many other benefits, including work experience and gaining transferable skills such as accountability, communication and patience. Interpersonal expertise, or learning how to communicate with different personalities, is essential to being successful in the workforce later in life and will increase an individual’s employability. In addition to gained skills, part-time jobs allow individuals to network and gain connections with the people you work with, which may be helpful regardless of whether or not that job is within the individual’s career path. 

Working through school is a rewarding addition to the college experience. Willamette makes it simple for students to find a variety of jobs on and off campus through Handshake. Handshake is accessible through the Willamette Portal, so if you are looking for easily accessible work, be sure to log in!


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