Jack of All Trades: Working for Columbia

Jack of All Trades: Working for Columbia

Cubicle, sweet cubicle... the inside of the Learning Studio!

Cubicle, sweet cubicle… the inside of the Learning Studio!

Being a student is a full-time commitment, so it can be tough to support yourself financially while taking full advantage of your time in school. Luckily, you can blur the lines a little by working for Columbia! I’ve had more Columbia jobs than anyone I know – and this rundown represents just a fraction of what’s out there!

  1. Writing Consultant – My first and most long-term job is as a writing consultant (or tutor) at Columbia’s Learning Studio. Students book one-hour tutoring appointments with me, and I help them with everything from mind-mapping to grammar to MLA format. My weirdest request? A tie between “let me read this letter to my brother, and you tell me if he’d like it” and “I need grammar help on my fan fiction.” I’m also the Graduate Tutor Coordinator, which means that I hire, train, and mentor the graduate writing tutors here.
  2. Graduate Assistant (GA) for the Center for Book, Paper, and Print – This summer job had me working as shop tech for the bookbinding, papermaking, and printmaking studios. I painted tables, fixed presses, beat paper pulp, tended to the Papermaker’s Garden, sewed press covers, hung shows, archived prints… the list is never-ending! Much of what goes on at the Center is relevant to my future career – so I consider this one half job, half internship. I learned a lot about caring for the equipment that I’d like to own myself someday!
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The bindery’s board shears after I had cleaned and repainted them. Good as new!

3. Print Assistant for Anchor Graphics – Another summer job! I was tasked with helping visiting artists-in-residence The Moving Crew to produce a limited-edition scroll. The gig only lasted as long as their residency – around two weeks – so we had to hustle in order to hand-print the collective’s whole project! This might be my favorite job I’ve held here: working for outside artists to make their creative vision happen. I even ended up contributing illustrations to the work!

4. Adjunct Instructor – That’s right, graduate students in the Book, Paper, and Print program have the opportunity to teach undergraduate classes in any of those three disciplines. This semester, I’m teaching Beginning Bookbinding. Every Wednesday, my class of twelve students and I meet in the Center’s bindery to learn new book structures, talk about book arts, and, inevitably, get glue all over our projects. No crying yet, though!

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A set of five books entitled “Wires,” work by my very talented student Laurel Hauges.

5. Graduate Ambassador – This is the job that I’m doing right this very second! That’s right, blogging for Marginalia is part of my duties as the Book, Paper and Print program’s Graduate Ambassador. I also tweet and attend student events, but my favorite part is definitely meeting up or corresponding with prospective students. Speaking with these artists, who may soon form Columbia’s newest cohort of book artists like me, is an absolute pleasure.

Working for Columbia ensures that your boss understands that being a student comes first – and hey, all that field-relevant experience on your resume can’t hurt, either!