Students reap benefits of pursuing a job while attending college

Tommie Clark

Acquiring a job can make a significant difference in any student’s life.

Many ISU students keep busy with class, clubs, greek life and studying for hours. 

Some students on Iowa State’s campus also have made a job part of their learning experience.

“My job will really help me in the future because I communicate with people so much. As a teacher, it will be important to communicate and be open with parents and students,” said Meghan Dwyer, junior in elementary education and server at Wallaby’s Bar and Grille.

Several students are taking advantage of on-campus jobs, which are related to the career they would like to do after they graduate. 

“I run samples to determine the amount of nitrogen or other levels in chicken excreta, weigh samples, feed chickens, label test tubes, and anything else the grad students need to make their experiments go smoothly,” said Shannon Ure, freshman in animal science and Poultry Nutrition Lab assistant.

Shannon Clark, sophomore in elementary education and assistant teacher at the University Community Childcare center, said her experience has reaffirmed her love for working with children.

“I enjoy my job working with children,” Clark sad. “I spend my time in the preschool and toddler room interacting with the children in lots of ways like resolving conflicts, reading to them, supervising them inside as well as on the playground, and overall just being there for the kids.” 

Obtaining a job can be tricky, though. Professors can be helpful when looking for an on-campus job, which is how Ure found her job. 

“When I came for orientation my advisor, Dr. Tyler, introduced me to Dr. Persia, who is in charge of the lab I work at,” she said. “We emailed over the summer and I started the first week I got to school. It was very helpful and I was extremely lucky.”

Making sure to get that right job is crucial and can determine whether students are happy at their place of employment.

“Look for a job that best suits you, your schedule and your major,” Clark said. “Don’t stress yourself out or do a job you hate because then it will just drag you down and you won’t enjoy your day.”

The amount of hours completed per week is an essential detail when it comes to a job. Students have to find a happy medium to take just enough hours to receive a sufficient paycheck, but not go overboard and miss studying for class or an important test.

“I work two days, a total of nine hours per week. Each semester I fill out my availability and my boss places me accordingly with my schedule,” Clark said.

Dwyer puts in requests about her schedule at Wallaby’s.

“I request days off, but my boss puts the schedule together as well,” she said. “I work about 15 hours a week.”

For Ure, the on-campus job allows for events that might come up.

“I work three times a week, around 10 hours. I have set hours, but they’re very flexible if I have conflicts,” she said.

It is important for students to take an interest in their job, Ure said.

“My job is very interesting and I am always doing different things,” she said. “I would recommend it to students with related majors such as nutrition or animal science majors.”

Occupations have the chance of producing positives outcomes for various reasons, such as getting tips as a waitress or just attaining an interest in what you do.

“I absolutely love my job. If you are an education major or just love working with children I highly recommend it. The kids are tons of fun,” Clark said. “Everyone is extremely friendly and nice. It makes for a comfortable and fun working environment.”

Employment can keep students busy, but homework must be a main priority and not be pushed back in order to pursue a job opportunity.

“Being an assistant teacher is not too demanding. I work around my job and plan accordingly,” Clark said. “I make sure to get homework and studying done before work or I make sure to have time slots open after work or on other days of the week.”

Finding an occupation that is manageable is necessary if a job is demanding, Dwyer said.

“My job was demanding in the beginning because I had never served before, but now I enjoy the break from school,” she said. “Sometimes it can be a little much in the week, but it all depends on your class load and your major.”

Making sure to plan around work is imperative so as to not have any issues.

“Depending on the person and job they are doing, work can be stressful. Freshman year it’s rough, but you will eventually get into the swing of things,” Dwyer said. “Having a job is important because it teaches you lessons school wouldn’t like responsibility, leadership, and time management.”

Putting all of these key points together makes for a happy, wealthier and more knowledgeable student.

“I think having a job, as a student, is definitely a positive. Although it may not be the case for some, I feel like keeping busy makes me more focused and organized,” Ure said. “Additionally it is important to always think about networking and building a resume.”

A student’s working environment can affect his or her outlook on the job as well.

“My co-workers add to the positive environment by being very helpful and answering any questions I have whether it is about work, school or ISU in general,” Ure said. “My manager also always makes sure I am comfortable with the task I have been given and makes work a very positive experience overall.”

Clark said she believes students should have jobs while in college. 

“It teaches you time management skills, responsibility and organization,” Clark said. “Plus it will help you in the long run because it teaches you how to multi-task and how to handle stress in a positive way.”