Campus jobs teach valuable life skills and provide great opportunities
By ABBEY BAILEY
I have always been a person who must keep busy. When I started school at UMW in the fall of 2014, I knew that if I wanted to stay sane I needed to work. Living on campus without a car limited my possibilities for jobs, so I began by applying through the Financial Aid office as a circulation assistant at Simpson Library. I began working there in January 2015 and I’ve worked on campus ever since.
As an English major, working in a library surrounded by books was a dream. I worked one to three hour shifts at the circulation desk, finding and checking out books for students. The short shifts were perfect for my schedule. Working was not a huge commitment and I still had time to do other activities. I have always been an avid people watcher so it was very interesting to me to see what books people were checking out. Simpson Library is still one of my favorite buildings on campus to spend time in.
While working at the library, I came across another job opportunity, as a UMW Writing Center consultant. Friends throughout high school and college would always ask me to edit or proofread their papers, so it made sense for me to put my skills as an editor to work.
Unfortunately, because of Financial Aid’s regulations involving student employment on campus, I had to choose between the library and the Writing Center. After interviewing with Gwen Hale, the Writing Center director, my choice was easy. I was sad to leave my job at the library which I enjoyed so much, but I knew if I wanted to pursue editing post-graduation, the Writing Center was what I needed on my résumé.
I am still working at the Writing Center and it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had. I enjoy helping my peers enhance their writing and teaching them the ins and outs of MLA, APA and Chicago-Turabian citations. One of my favorite things about working at the Writing Center is assisting ESL students. I have found that consultations with ESL students are the most gratifying in that I can help these individuals express their thoughts and feelings in a language that is not native to them.
One downside to working an on-campus job is that students can only work a certain number of hours per week, less than part time. So, it came time that I needed to apply for a second job. Again, I chose a location on campus for proximity, peer interaction, and to help better my campus. I started working at Blackstone in March of 2017.
This was my first food service job and there was a learning curve starting out, but I have always considered myself a fast learner, so I was able to catch on quickly. Blackstone is almost always busy and one of my favorite parts about the job is that when it is particularly crowded, I can turn off my mind and trust my instincts to make all of the drinks properly.
Working on campus has shaped my life at UMW. As a senior, I feel that many of the skills I have developed over four years here have stemmed from my time working. I am grateful to my bosses for the kindness they have shown me, as well as pushing me to do my absolute best, always.