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Starting grad school can mean embarking on a good old financial adventure. Not only do you have to pay for school, but you also have to pay rent, pay bills, buy pencils, buy erasers, and feed your Starbucks habit. It all adds up! With that in mind, you may be looking for ways to earn money while you study. Consider getting a campus job. Not only will you earn some cold hard cash, but you will gain some valuable skills and build your network. As a campus employee, I want to share with you my experiences and offer a few key tips. Juggling work and school can be easier than you think!
I am now in my second on-campus job. For the first two semesters, I worked as a marketing assistant for ShopColumbia, the college’s fantastic, student-run art boutique. It was a great way to meet all the artists on campus and help them bring their work to market. Not only that, but I was able to apply what I had been learning in the classroom to a real-life situation. It was a great place to work, and I urge you to stop by the store whenever you get the chance!
With the onset of summer, I decided to make a move and look for other on-campus opportunities. I ended up becoming the Development Communications Coordinator for Columbia’s Office of Institutional Advancement. I am responsible for writing the copy for Columbia’s Annual Giving Campaign, as well as for a quarterly newsletter for donors and friends of the college. I am gaining great experience, building my network, and applying what I learn in class.
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So you may be thinking, “How can I get a campus job?”
The first place to start is ColumbiaWorks. It is Columbia’s one-stop-shop for student employment. There, you will find listings for all campus jobs, as well as for other jobs and internships in Chicago and beyond. To apply for campus jobs, you will need to upload a copy of your resume to ColumbiaWorks, along with a student application (available on the website). Once you have done that, you can apply for any job for which you are eligible! If you are having any problems using the system, just get in touch with student employment. They are very helpful. Sometimes, supervisors get overwhelmed with applications, so check ColumbiaWorks frequently and APPLY EARLY! If you do not hear back, don’t give up. Try to contact the department directly or go pay them a visit. (I did this, and it works!)
ColumbiaWorks is a great resource and one I highly recommend using, but sometimes you can also find campus employment through your academic department. Just ask your professors if there are any openings.
Campus employment is something to seriously consider. You will soon become a “face” on campus, and your network will grow. A major advantage to having a campus job is that your employer will be sensitive to the fact that you are a very busy grad student. They will work with you to adjust your schedule during the busy periods. You’ll also be within walking distance of class! Just leave yourself time to grab that coffee you worked so hard to pay for!